JANUARY 26, 2006 - Posted at 8:21 a.m. CST
JEFFERSON CITY, MO - A group of state lawmakers think it's time to give minimum-wage workers in Missouri a raise.
Missouri's minimum wage matches the federal rate of $5.15 an hour. That figure hasn't changed since 1997.
But many states have adopted their own, higher minimums, and some House Democrats want Missouri to follow suit.
They're proposing a 55-cent raise this year, to $5.70 an hour, with another increase to $6.50 an hour in August of 2007. Starting in 2008, Missouri's minimum wage would rise with inflation.
Democrat John Bowman of St. Louis says the current minimum amounts to less than $11,000 a year, just above the federal poverty level for a single person.
But Republican Senator John Loudon of Ballwin says Missouri employers would have a competitive disadvantage if the minimum wage exceeded those of states that adhere to the federal level.