Cap on tipped worker wages stalls in Missouri Senate

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 | 8:19 a.m. CDT; updated 10:35 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 6, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri senators have broken off debate on legislation to stop automatic increases in the mandated minimum pay for tipped workers.

Senators debated the legislation Tuesday, but it faced Democratic opposition and did not come to a vote.

Voters approved a 2006 ballot measure to adjust the state's minimum wage annually for inflation. This year the minimum pay is $7.05, and tipped employees must earn at least half that, or $3.525.

Critics say the regular wage increases are hurting the restaurant industry and have pushed the legislation, which would prevent the automatic raises for tipped workers. But others say tipped workers earn low salaries and it's unfair to prevent their pay from rising.

Most of the Senate debate didn't focus on the details of the bill.

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