Thousands of workers in St. Louis will likely see smaller paychecks starting Monday, when a new Missouri law takes effect barring local government from enacting minimum wages different than the state minimum, the AP reports. The law is drawing protests in St. Louis and in Kansas City, where a recent vote approving a higher minimum wage is essentially nullified without ever really taking effect. The impact is direct in St. Louis, where the minimum wage had increased to $10 after the Missouri Supreme Court sided with the city in a two-year legal battle. Days after the Supreme Court ruling, Missouri's Republican-led Legislature passed a statewide uniform minimum wage requirement. The state minimum wage is $7.70 per hour. Republican Gov. Eric Greitens declined to veto the bill, allowing it to become law.
An estimated 35,000 St. Louis workers saw pay raises after the court ruling, and the city's plan had called for the minimum wage to increase to $11 per hour in 2018. State Sen. Dan Hegeman, a Republican from rural northwest Missouri, said the higher minimum would force some employers to either cut jobs or move. Supporters of the higher wage say it's virtually impossible to live on $7.70 an hour. "I was just getting caught up on my bills and was able to start getting things for my child," said Gennise Mackey, 25, who earns minimum wage at a Taco Bell. "Now, it's going to be a big setback. The cost of living is going up and they expect us to live on $7.70?"