In 2019 Missouri will see minimum wage increase to $8.60 an hour.
This increase comes after Missouri voters passed Proposition B during the November midterm elections. This proposition will gradually increase Missouri minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023, rising 85 cents each year.
Nodaway County Ambulance District Director of Operations Bill Florea said the raise could start taking effect in three or four years and would impact them greatly.
“On our professional staff, it probably isn’t going to affect us as much because they are going to already be over that,” Florea said. “I guess if we were to adjust their wages accordingly by 2022, and we give everyone that four dollar raise, that will be a big impact, that would be like $5,000. Just the full-time staff that would cost around $110,000. That would be about $8,632 per employee by that year (2022).”
According to the National Employment Law Project, 677,000 workers, living in all of Missouri’s counties and the city of St. Louis, will see the benefits of a higher wage. NELP projects that by 2023, each worker will earn an average of $1,485 more annually.
Florea said the increase would affect a lot of different things for workers, not just raise their salary.
“But it is not just that it impacts, there are other things based on your wages such as workers’ comp, some of our insurances, retirement is also based on it,” Florea said. “So, it is not just one piece, not just the wages, security withholdings and all of that will be impacted.”
Florea said he has numerous concerns surrounding the increase especially since the ambulance district current struggles to make money.
“We only get so many taxes and that is my concern is if that starts pulling away what will happen,” Florea said. “Ours is pretty much a break-even budget from year to year and even some years we don’t break even; we have enough reserves to make up those differences.
Florea said one of his main concerned about how the increase will directly affect him and the ambulance district as their main source of income is from taxes.
“We’re funding on sales tax, and as you see more and more of those go away and more people buying online and not going to the brick and mortar stores, you still have to pay people wages in your area, provide jobs, pay taxes, and that concerns me.”
Florea said he believes a lot of the services the district offers will have to increase in order to compensate for the rise of wages.
“I think what you will see is an increase in the price of ambulances. Our wheelchair van fee, we haven’t raised the price of that since it’s been in service from the ‘90s; we absorb that loss because it provides a needed service,” Florea said. “I do see those fees having to go up to stay viable because if you start losing money you’ve got to increase your funds or we are not going to remain viable.”