Kansas City’s push to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour could cost region 3,200 jobs and increase government expenses by more than $100 million

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry believes the wage mandate under consideration by the Kansas City city council could cost the city more than 3,200 jobs and significantly raise state and local government costs for wages and operating expenses. Attached is a study and letter to mayor Sly James by the Missouri Restaurant Association, which warns of the impact of the proposed wage increase.

The campaign in Kansas City to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour is part of a national trend to enact fragmented employment laws in states by working through local city ordinances. This movement is dangerous because it creates a patchwork of employment law that is difficult for employers to navigate.  It also raises costs of conducting business and in locations such as Kansas City, where employers can easily move across state borders in order to cut their labor costs in half. This could have a long-term detrimental economic and social impact on the city and a significant impact on state revenues.

For this reason, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has successfully advocated the passage of legislation to create uniform workplace standards in Missouri.  House Bill 722 would restrict cities from passing ordinances that increase the minimum wage, mandate a certain amount to sick leave or ban plastic or reusable shopping bags. The legislation received strong support by the Missouri House and Senate and now awaits the signature by Gov. Jay Nixon.  So far, 12 states have enacted related laws.  Unfortunately, should Gov. Nixon sign HB 722 into law, it will not go into effect until august 28. This could be too late to block current action in Kansas City.

Here are a few ways you can help:

  • attend an upcoming Kansas City city council meeting to voice your concern on May 21 on the 10th floor of the Kansas City city hall. The meeting starts at noon.
  • submit your concerns to Kansas City Mayor Sly James. The phone number is: 816-513-3500.  The address is:  the office of the mayor, city hall 29th floor, 414 East 12th street, Kansas City, MO 64106.
  • contact governor jay Nixon and urge his signature of House Bill 722. The phone number is: (573) 751-3222.  The address is:  the Office of Governor Jay Nixon, PO box 720, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

For more information, contact Brian Bunten, Missouri Chamber general counsel, at bbunten@mochamber.com, or by phone at 573-634-3511.

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About mochamber

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry understands that the quality of life in our state depends on quality jobs for Missourians. To that end, we have one simple mission: to protect and advance Missouri business.

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