Hannibal News

Employee, consumer reactions mixed over Missouri minimum wage increase

Palmyra High School student Kimberly Taber serves up drinks Monday for a customer at the drive-up window at the Hardee's in Palmyra. Missouri is one of several states that raised the minimum wage on the first of the year, with Missouri's going up a nickel to $7.70 an hour. | H-W Photo/Michael Kipley
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 2, 2017 6:25 pm Updated: Jan. 2, 2017 6:52 pm

HANNIBAL, Mo. ญญญ-- Twenty-year-old Sam Taylor learned the hard way that earning only minimum wage wasn't enough to pay all her bills.

"It's tough. I worked a minimum wage job for one week and had trouble making my car payment and insurance," she said.

After a week of earning $7.65 an hour -- the 2016 starting point for wages -- Taylor quit and found a higher-paying job at a Hannibal Ayerco convenience store. There she makes $8.55 an hour, just enough to get by. But many of her friends are still earning minimum wage, and she's seen how hard it is on them.

"They can't pay for responsibilities," Taylor said, noting that what her friends can afford is pitching in for gas money. "It's also tough when you don't work full time."

On Sunday, Missouri's minimum wage increased to $7.70 an hour. The state automatically raises the wage each year based on the rate of inflation. For 2017, 19 states raised their minimum wage, and Missouri was one of four states to raise its wage by only 5 cents, the lowest amount of increase.

"I said to my mom this morning that we should have raised it more," Taylor said.

Although many employees are happy to see bigger paychecks, the rise in the minimum wage is concerning to others.

"I'm a retired grandma," Jackie Linares said. "When minimum wage goes up, it affects me because I have to pay higher prices. So there's a downside to that."

Linares isn't looking forward to spending more on the cost of food and other goods.

"But I am happy for those who make minimum wage," she said.

Others who are older like Linares celebrated the wage increase less than their teenage co-workers.

McDonald's employee Sharon Miller, who earns minimum wage, works two days each week at the restaurant to supplement her income. She's at the age where she could retire but prefers to earn the extra money.

"As long as it doesn't go above what my Social Security allows, I'm OK with it," Miller said.

Things to Do