Kansas City Council moves ahead toward an increase in minimum wage

From the Kansas City Star

Kansas City is one vote away from becoming the first city in Missouri to try to raise the minimum wage above the state-mandated level of $7.65 per hour.

The Kansas City Council took a procedural vote Thursday that sets the table for next Thursday’s final decision on a higher minimum wage. But the latest proposal is not as dramatic as a previous version that called for Kansas City to join a handful of other cities nationwide with an increase to $15 per hour by 2020.

“The goal in my opinion is to do some justice to those who need it, without doing damage to (business) people who have done no wrong,” Mayor Sly James told his colleagues as he unveiled a more modest wage increase schedule.

For two months, the City Council has debated the merits of a grass-roots petition initiative that seeks to raise the minimum wage in the city to $10 per hour by Sept. 1 and to $15 per hour by 2020. Advocates for low-wage workers say an increase is essential to lift people out of poverty, while fast-food and other retail owners vow to fight the move in court, saying such a drastic change will only drive jobs and businesses out of the city.