There are 30,000 households in KCMO with a total income under $15,000 per year. That’s a minimum wage job — currently $7.85 per hour, — working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Yet a true living wage for a single person in this city is over $11 per hour (about $22,000 per year assuming no time off).
For a single parent? $24 per hour.
Raising the minimum wage in Missouri to be closer in line with a living wage is long overdue. Please vote Yes on Prop B to ensure our most vulnerable citizens have a fair shot.
We must ensure that the people of our community are guaranteed a chance to afford the basic necessities.
In fact, just last year KCMO voters approved a ballot initiative to set a local minimum wage at $10 per hour, rising to $15 per hour by 2022. Unfortunately, we were stymied by the Missouri General Assembly through preemption legislation. As a result, the ordinance placed on the ballot through petition and approved by KCMO voters, was unenforceable. The state minimum wage of $7.85 remained.
But you’ve got to hand it to KCMO Mayor Sly James and the City council for voluntarily complying with the the voter approved ordinance by establishing its own minimum wage for city employees and requiring city contractors to also comply.
So what’s preemption? Hey, I’m glad you asked!
Remember when I talked about home rule the other day? Well it’s a principle that grants cities and counties the ability to have a higher level of self-governance through the development of a charter. KCMO is a chartered city (as is Jackson County). Well despite the level of autonomy this grants these cities, sometimes the majority of the Missouri General Assembly wishes to prevent local governments like ours from passing laws that they don’t like. So they pass laws (see my post from Monday about how this works) that restrict the authority of these local governments from passing their own laws on a specific topic. This also prevents the voters of a municipality from petitioning for a new ordinance on that specific topic and voting to approve that ordinance.
This is called preemption.
For example, did you know that Missouri has a plastic bag ban ban?
Now, I’m not making a value judgement on the practice of banning plastic bags here. But I do believe there is something fundamentally wrong about legislators in Jefferson City making decisions about how we operate here in Kansas City.
What else can’t local governments control in Missouri?
Banning texting while driving
Regulating the sale and ownership of firearms
Establishing a local fuel tax
Establishing a local earnings tax - this one is actually more complicated, but still preempted
So, what does democracy look like in the age of preemption?
Getting the necessary signatures to petition the state to put a minimum wage increase on the ballot AND VOTING YES FOR IT.
Please vote yes on Prop B.