$12 minimum wage wins voter approval

Missouri voters on Tuesday approved a plan to raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2023.

Proposition B won by a margin of about 62 percent to 38 percent, according to unofficial results from the Missouri Secretary of State. The measure calls for a gradual increase of the state’s minimum wage from its current level of $7.85 per hour.

The minimum wage would increase to $8.60 in January, and it would grow by 85 cents per year after that until it hits $12.

Approval of Proposition B is the latest development in an ongoing fight over workers’ wages in the state. Kansas City and St. Louis have both passed laws to increase their local wage floors in recent years. But both were thwarted by a state law, signed by former Gov. Eric Greitens in 2017, that prevents municipalities from raising their minimum wage above the state’s.

Owners of more than 700 businesses from across Missouri signed a statement supporting Proposition B that was circulated by Raise Up Missouri, a committee backing the wage increase.

Prominent business groups including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Associated Industries of Missouri opposed the measure, citing concerns about its effect on the state’s ability to compete for jobs.

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