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Missouri Republican tries to block minimum wage hike because pay ‘wasn’t meant to be a living wage’

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Rep. Dan Shaul (Facebook)

A Missouri Republican introduced legislation that would stop Kansas City from enacting a higher minimum wage — because he said workers weren’t meant to live on those wages.

Rep. Dan Shaul (R-Jefferson City) wants the statehouse to quickly pass his bill that would prohibit cities and counties from paying a higher minimum wage than what is set by state law, reported the Kansas City Star.

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The bill contains an emergency clause that would allow it to go into effect as soon as the governor signs it, and the newspaper reported Shaul’s bill is moving quickly through the legislative process.

“The minimum wage wasn’t meant to be a living wage,” Shaul told the Star. “I’m all for family sustainable wages, and I certainly don’t want a family to have to work two or three jobs to get by. But grocery store baggers and fast food work isn’t where you should be working to sustain your family.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who got the first federal minimum wage laws enacted nearly 80 years ago, emphatically believed a minimum wage should provide enough income for workers to live on.

“No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country,” Roosevelt said in his 1933 statement on the National Industrial Recovery Act. “By living wages, I mean more than a bare subsistence level — I mean the wages of a decent living.”

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a minimum wage hike enacted in St. Louis was lawful, and Kansas City could put its wage hike — which would jump to $10 an hour from $7.70 — before voters on Aug. 8.

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But the move is opposed by business organizations that don’t want cities to create a “patchwork” of payment rates across the state — and Shaul insisted his plan would promote job creation.

“We need to work to bring in high paying jobs into the state,” he said. “Raising the minimum wage is only going to drive businesses out of the city of St. Louis.”


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