Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens came out strongly against raising the minimum wage to $15 while promoting his economic agenda Wednesday in Kansas City.
The Republican governor visited the downtown offices of Spring Venture Group, a Kansas City insurance company that is set to expand its workforce from 400 to 800 over the next two years, and touted his administration’s efforts to roll back regulations during his first year in office.
“When you look at what we’ve done around reducing regulations ... all of this has helped to create a great environment for business owners so that we are creating new jobs and also raising people’s take-home pay,” Greitens said when asked about the Fight for $15 movement that seeks to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Greitens this year allowed a law to go into effect without his signature that caused St. Louis’ minimum wage to revert to $7.70 per hour from $10 by blocking the city’s ability to raise its own minimum wage. Kansas City voters approved a ballot measure last month to raise the city’s minimum wage to $10, but it also has been blocked by the state law.
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Greitens pointed to a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research that tied an overall decline in Seattle workers’ pay to the city’s decision to raise the minimum wage to $15.
“You need to work at what actually works. Unfortunately, we’ve had politicians in other cities like Seattle, for example, that implemented some of these policies and when you actually study it, what you found is that they reduced take-home pay,” Greitens said. “And the reason why they reduced take-home pay is because jobs were lost and hours were cut.”
Douglesha Nicholson, a Kansas City McDonald’s worker and activist, said in an email that Kansas City voters have already shown their strong support for raising the minimum wage.
“Gov. Greitens and Jefferson City Republicans should get out of the way, stop doing the bidding of business lobbyists and let people who live, work, and vote in Kansas City decide what’s best for our community,” Nicholson said. “And if they don’t, we’ll remember their decision to block our raises the next time they’re on the ballot.”