In both Missouri and Arkansas, voters this Tuesday have been asked to increase the state minimum wage. Both are “red” states, both voted for Trump in 2016, yet in both states polls indicate that this measure is popular.
Facts and Arguments:
In Missouri, the initiative at issue is called Proposition B. It would hike that state’s minimum wage, by stages, to $12 an hour in 2023.
In Arkansas, the question is called Issue 5. It would raise the minimum wage to $11 an hour in 2021.
Opponents of such measures argue that they hurt low-income workers, cutting off the bottom rung on the ladder that those workers might otherwise climb. Some studies have indicated that a higher minimum wage will increase incentives for employers to automate the affected jobs.
Advocates of such measures answer that the jobs in question aren’t in fact integral to a ladder; they often amount to a long-term serf-like status.
The Thing to Know:
In both states, the legislatures are firmly against a minimum wage increase, and grassroots groups have won ballot status for the issue as a way to work around what they see as irrationally obstructive officialdom.