ST. LOUIS - The city of St. Louis can now move forward with a minimum wage increase. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in favor of the city's increase. But, for many local businesses, the higher wages put an added strain on their bottom line.
The decision reinstates a 2015 St. Louis ordinance that worked to raise the minimum wage to $10/per hour in 2017 and $11/per hour in 2018.
"We're looking at a 35 / 36% increase pretty much right off the bat," said John Perkins, Owner of Juniper Restaurant in the Central West End.
Perkins says he's in no way opposed to employees making more money, but says it's hard enough to run a restaurant and be profitable. He's concerned with the way the bill is currently constructed.
"It puts a lot more pressure and demands more from small businesses which already have pretty healthy burdens on them," he said.
The mayor's office says it wants to make this an easy move for both businesses and employees.
"Over the next couple of weeks, the mayor will be talking to business leaders and also proponents of a higher minimum wage to determine what makes logical sense to move this forward so that there's a nice smooth transition," said the Communications Director for the Office of the Mayor, Maggie Crane.
The owner of Fauxgerty clothing boutique, also in the Central West End, says there are two types of conversations among business owners when it comes to minimum wage increases. It all depends on the size of the business.
"Adding another expense is understandable how that can be overwhelming but then we're also investing in growing the neighborhood," said Chrissy Fogerty.
As for Perkins, he says he'd like to see more give and take in the matter.
"If there was we're going to cut taxes over here, we're going to raise your pay but we're going to eliminate one or two of the taxes that we apply to small businesses in the city, I wouldn't be saying anything."
Perkins says it's not yet known exactly how the increases will affect his business. He is anticipating raising prices which, he says, could potentially reduce clientele.
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