Missouri's minimum wage set for 10-cent increase starting Tuesday

Monday, December 31, 2012 | 7:44 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — For the first time in three years, Missouri will increase the state minimum wage Tuesday. 

Nearly 80,000 Missouri workers will see a slight increase in their paychecks, on average $190 annually, according to the National Employment Law Project

The 10-cent increase, which sets the state's minimum wage at $7.35 per hour, is projected to put an additional $8 million into the state's economy, said Lara Granich, director of Missouri Jobs with Justice.

Missouri voters overwhelmingly supported a ballot initiative in 2006 to link the state's minimum wage to the cost of living, Granich said. 

"The cost-of-living adjustment ensures that the state's lowest paid workers have as much milk and bread each week this year as they were able to buy last year," Granich said.  

Missouri introduced a minimum wage of $3.80 in 1991. From 1998 to 2006, the state minimum wage was stagnant at $5.15 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Labor

Missouri workers saw increases each year from 2007 to 2010 when minimum wage increased 20 cents to meet the federal government's standard of $7.25 per hour. The federal wage has remained the same, according to the Labor Department. 

Missouri is one of 1o states to raise its minimum wage on New Year's Day and will be among 21 states having a higher minimum wage than the federal government standard, according to the Labor Department.

Washington has the highest minimum wage, which will be set at $9.19 per hour starting Tuesday. 

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