Both an increase in the Missouri minimum wage and a business tax cut have resulted due to laws passed years ago that either had provisions for inflation or effective dates that were to be phased-in. On Jan. 1, the state minimum hourly wage increased from $7.35 to $7.50. Missouri is one of 20 states in the country with a minimum wage rate higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group based in New York, estimates that the increase will impact 104,000 Missouri workers.

Missouri business groups have long opposed increases in the state minimum wage on the basis that such increases put the state at a competitive disadvantage with its neighbors. However, an advocacy group in the state is seeking further increases and has proposed initiatives that would put the question to the voters in a 2014 referendum.

A reduction in the state corporate franchise tax also went into effect on the first day of 2014, with that tax eventually scheduled to be eliminated. It is believed, according to staff working for the Missouri State Legislature, that Missouri may collect approximately $20 million less in business franchise taxes in 2014 as a result of the gradual phaseout. Still, business groups maintain that further business tax cuts are required for the state to remain competitive with its neighbors like Oklahoma and Kansas, both of which have cut their income tax rates.

A worker that believes that a minimum wage violation has occurred at the individual’s place of employment may be entitled to relief. An attorney with experience in employment law may be able to assist clients seeking enforcement of wage laws.

Source: CBS St. Louis, “New Year Means Missouri Wage Hike, Business Tax Cut”, David A. Lieb, January 30, 2014