Missouri Overrides St. Louis Minimum Wage Hike, Bucking Trend

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

July 14, 2017

Effective August 28, Missouri will override the $10 St. Louis minimum wage and lower it back to $7.70, consistent with the state's minimum figure. The state-mandated decrease in the St. Louis minimum wage is especially noteworthy at a time when a number of cities and states just increased their own minimum wages on July 1. The preemption bill bans Missouri cities or counties from establishing a minimum wage rate that exceeds the state's minimum wage.

The St. Louis measure had been the subject of a legal battle ever since it was enacted in 2015. The Missouri Supreme Court had reinstated the city's minimum wage after a lower court had invalidated it. But that led to quick action by the state legislature. Had the St. Louis measure survived, its minimum wage would have:

  • Increased to $11 per hour on January 1, 2018; and
  • Been annually adjusted for inflation every year thereafter.

In a statement critical of the St. Louis minimum wage, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens cited a study by University of Washington researchers, which claimed that Seattle's staggered minimum wage increases actually harmed those in low-wage jobs. However, that research examined higher minimum wages that approach $15 per hour, a figure which has been the goal of activists and some legislators in states and cities nationwide.

Governor Greitens did not sign the statewide bill, but it will take effect without his signature. "Our state needs more private sector paychecks and bigger private sector paychecks," he said in the statement. "Politicians in St. Louis passed a bill that fails on both counts."

The cities, counties and states to raise their minimum wage this month include:

  • Chicago;
  • Cook County, Illinois;
  • Flagstaff, Arizona;
  • Los Angeles County;
  • Maryland;
  • Montgomery County, Maryland;
  • Oregon;
  • Pasadena, California;
  • Portland, Oregon;
  • San Francisco;
  • San Jose; and the
  • District of Columbia.