Missouri business owners still divided over minimum wage hike, which takes effect Jan. 1

Starting Jan. 1, the minimum wage will increase from $7.85 an hour to $8.60. The raise comes after Proposition B passed in November. Prop B calls for boosting the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023.

Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri, argues a minimum wage increase doesn’t “make money magically appear.”

“That money’s going to come from somewhere,” McCarty said. “It’s either going to come from all of us as consumers or it’s going to come in the form of reduced hours and reduced positions at the minimum wage.”

It’s also possible, he argued, that businesses may begin to invest in automation that can take the place of certain low wage workers.

McCarty said the state should invest in training programs that prepare workers for more skilled jobs, instead of mandated minimum wage increases.

“If government wants to get involved in trying to help people at the lowest end of the wage scale, the best thing they can do is provide training,” he said. “Not only would [workers] be getting an immediate boost in their income, they’d have a skill that they could take anywhere.”