Economists Differ on Effects of Minimum Wage Hike

AUGUST 23, 2006 - Posted at 3:53 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A battle of economists is brewing

over the ballot proposal to raise Missouri's minimum wage.

Voters will decide this November whether to increase Missouri's

minimum wage to six-dollars-and-50 cents an hour, instead of the

current federal minimum of five-dollars-and-15 cents.

Opponents of the measure today released a study by a Florida

State University economist suggesting the wage increase would

affect about 77-thousand Missourians but result in the layoffs of

more than 15-hundred people. He says it would cost businesses 44

(m) million dollars a year.

But supporters countered with academic experts from Florida and

Wisconsin, who said minimum wage raises there have had no negative

effect on employment.

Supporters claim the wage increase could affect 256-thousand