Hannibal businesses and workers react to minimum wage increase

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Starting the first of next year, Missouri minimum wage workers will get a 75 cent raise, with Proposition B passing in Missouri on Tuesday, it’ll continue to rise for a few years after that.

Proposition B will raise the minimum wage in Missouri every year until 2023, when the new minimum wage will be $12 an hour. For people who own businesses like the Mark Twain Dinette and work in downtown Hannibal, that could mean a lot of different things.

“Minimum wage was only ever meant to be minimum, said Sara North, owner of Becky’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlour, adding that she thinks the ballot issue just didn’t make much sense to her in the first place, “the proposition simply assumes that all business owners make minimum wage themselves and that’s just not always the case.”

For Hannah Hammond who works two part-time jobs, she understands it could be bad in some ways

“I know that it will probably cause inflation,  said Hammond. But she hopes it’ll lessen her workload, “it might allow me to lessen my hours at one or the other.”

Joe Noonan, owner of Ole Planters Restaurant, said it makes sense to raise minimum wage.

“We also gotta be competitive with Illinois because their minimum wage is higher than ours right now,” said Noonan, making the point that while it doesn’t effect his bottom line currently due to how small his operation is, it will long term, “when it gets to 12 dollars an hour, that will affect my business I will have to raise prices.”

For larger scale operations like the Mark Twain Dinette, it’s a different story.

Diners waiting to be seated at the dinette

“We’re not against any kind of wage increases, ” said Jody Bogue, owner of Mark Twain Dinette .

He said he thinks it’s good people are getting paid more, but he’s already having to make changes to try and keep things working– like having to cut an external cleaning service.

“We’re not big enough, we’re not Walmart we’re not Lowe’s we don’t have those kind of deep pockets, we don’t have those kind of profit margins without the community supporting,” said Bogue.

After 2019, the minimum wage is set to increase 85 cents a year.

Proposition B passed with an over 62% Yes vote Tuesday, the first increase will start January 1st, when the Missouri minimum wage will go from $7.85 an hour to $8.60 an hour.

Frank Healy

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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