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  • Judge: Kansas City Residents Can’t Vote On $15 Minimum Wage

    A state judge ruled Tuesday that residents in Kansas City, Mo. will not even get the chance to vote on whether to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

    The proposal was going to be included on the November ballot. The decision by Missouri Judge Justine Del Muro, however, reaffirmed an earlier law making it illegal for cities in the state to pass their own minimum wage laws. Currently the state minimum wage is $7.65 an hour.

    “Frankly, this will save the taxpayers over half a million dollars here in Kansas City to put something on the ballot,” Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed told the local affiliate of NBC. “Unfortunately, is not necessarily something that we could enforce.”

    “These aren’t games,” Reed added. “These are real lives, and this is not my opinion what democracy looks like.”

    The decision was not a surprise. Last week, Missouri lawmakers overrode a veto from Gov. Jay Nixon blocking the city minimum wage ban. Without the veto, the law went into effect. It also means, a minimum wage increase already enacted will have to end. The local affiliate of Fox reports that back in July, the Kansas City Council approved a measure to raise its minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2020.

    Outside Missouri, the $15 minimum wage has only be passed on the city level with Seattle leading the way in June 2014. Some states like New York have been considering it.

    The main issue is whether such an increase will actually help the people it’s supposed to. Namely lower-income individuals. Supporters often argue it will help the poor by allowing them to more easily afford basic necessities. This in turn could stimulate economic activity. Critics, though, say it may actually hurt the poor by limiting job opportunities.

    Even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) agrees any increase of the minimum wage will likely result in at least some job loss.

    Follow Connor on Twitter

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