Missouri's first-year Republican governor is going to allow a bill to go into effect that will block cities and counties from setting their own minimum wage, thus rolling back St. Louis' minimum wage hike from $10 to the state minimum, $7.70. The state's progressive leaders are predictably playing up the outrage over the move, but Gov. Eric Greitens is defending his stance by pointing to studies that show that raising the minimum wage hurts workers more than it helps.
"Liberals say these laws help people," said Greitens in a statement. "They don't. They hurt them."
"Our state needs more private sector paychecks and bigger private sector paychecks," said Greitens in his explanation of his decision to let the bill go into effect August 28. "Politicians in St. Louis passed a bill that fails on both counts: it will kill jobs, and despite what you hear from liberals, it will take money out of people's pockets."
For this reason, Greitens has chosen not to veto the bill, which was passed by the Missouri senate in May. But he's also not signing it, blaming both St. Louis politicians and the senate Democrats, who he smacked for delaying the bill until the end of session.
St. Louis' current $10 minimum wage is set to increase to $11 in January, following the incremental increase strategy of other progressive-run cities like Seattle. "The city first passed its minimum wage increase in 2015, but endured a two-year legal battle with local business groups," notes the New York Daily News.
The mandated wage increases, said Greitens, will "hurt" workers. "This increase in the minimum wage might read pretty on paper, but it doesn't work in practice. Government imposes an arbitrary wage, and small businesses either have to cut people’s hours or let them go," he said.
As an example, he cited a recent University of Washington study on Seattle's minimum wage hike, which found that the city's aggressive hikes hurt low-wage workers to the tune of $125 a month, totaling some $1,500 a year.
Though Fight for $15 is denouncing Greitens' move as "disgusting," the reality is he's exactly right about the impact of mandated wage increases. The Seattle Times provides a summary of the UW study, which found Seattle's recent wage hike resulted in "a 9 percent reduction in hours worked in [low-wage] jobs" and "a 6 percent drop in what employers collectively pay — and what workers earn — for those low-wage jobs." According to The Seattle Times:
The UW team published its first report last July on the impact of the first jump in Seattle’s minimum wage, which went in April 2015 from $9.47 to $10 or $11 an hour, depending on business size, benefits and tips.
This latest study from the UW team looks at the effects of both the first and second jumps. The second jump, in January 2016, raised the minimum wage to $10.50 to $13. (The minimum wage has since gone up again, to the current $11 to $15. It goes up again in January to $11.50 to $15.)
The team concluded that the second jump had a far greater impact, boosting pay in low-wage jobs by about 3 percent since 2014 but also resulting in a 9 percent reduction in hours worked in such jobs. That resulted in a 6 percent drop in what employers collectively pay — and what workers earn — for those low-wage jobs.
For an average low-wage worker in Seattle, that translates into a loss of about $125 per month per job.
In case you haven't been following the Seattle minimum wage saga, when Seattle's progressive leaders realized that the UW study was going to hurt their big government "fair wage" narrative, the mayor and a councilwoman commissioned another study from a pro-minimum wage group that — surprise, surprise! — found that the hikes did not hurt Seattle's workers at all. Here's a good read on the sequence of events leading to the two studies with two very different results.
By the way, one of the most vocal critics of "heartless" Greitens' anti-minimum wage move is Democratic State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, the avid Black Lives Matter supporter who was once arrested while protesting in Ferguson in 2014 and further solidified her leftwing credentials by sitting down during the Pledge of Allegiance in "solidarity" with Colin Kaepernick.
For more on the minimum wage, below are some videos by PragerU: