Letter to Mayor Sly James regarding Kansas City minimum wage ordinance

July 10, 2015

The Honorable Sly James
29th Floor City Hall
414 E. 12th St.
Kansas City, MO 64106

Dear Mayor James:

The undersigned organizations wish to express our view that the City of Kansas City lacks the legal authority to establish any minimum wage for private sector employers.

State law clearly occupies this field and sets the minimum wage for private employers on a statewide basis. Any adjustment to that wage must be through amendment of state statute.

There has been some discussion of a phrase in HB 722 authorizing cities to adopt a minimum wage if they do so before August 28, 2015. We disagree with this interpretation of the language in the bill. While the bill enacts a new prohibition against local enactment of certain laws, minimum wage has already been set by statute and no local government, including a charter city, has any authority to enact a minimum wage for their locality.

We encourage you to honor existing state law and use your influence with the Council to avoid a costly challenge of current law. Failing that, we would welcome your veto of any minimum wage ordinance as authorized by Article V, Sec. 504 of the Charter of the City of Kansas City, MO.

Sincerely,

American Hotel and Lodging Association

Asian American Hotel Owners Association

Associated Industries of Missouri

Mid-America Grocers Association

Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Missouri Grocers Association

Missouri Hotel and Lodging Association

Missouri Restaurant Association

Missouri Retailers Association

Missouri Tire Industry Association

International Franchise Association

National Federation of Independent Business

National Restaurant Association

Retail Grocers Association of Greater Kansas City