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Please Vote Yes on Prop B to Raise Missouri’s Minimum Wage

September 5, 2018 Economy, Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Please Vote Yes on Prop B to Raise Missouri’s Minimum Wage

A lot of people fear increasing minimum wages, but where it has increased the dire predictions have not come true.

As the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago found in a 2011 study, every dollar increase in the minimum wage corresponds with an annual increase in consumer spending per minimum wage household by $2,800. It makes sense. Elevating wages strengthens consumers’ buying power. Workers with more money in their pockets are also consumers who support local businesses, creating a virtuous cycle of growth and opportunity for our residents and our local economy.

There will always be Chicken Littles who are sure the sky is falling in the face of progress, but Chicago has proven them wrong. The city that works has clearly shown fair pay and a strong business climate can go hand-in-hand. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

When those at the bottom get a raise the money gets spent immediately. It often gets spent locally. This is true for big cities, and in rural communities. Yes, some businesses will have higher wage costs but they’ll likely see higher revenues as people have more money to spent.

Will raising the minimum wage have an effect on taxes and taxpayers?

Because people who earn minimum wage are those most likely to spend their income and spend it with local small businesses for basic necessities like food and clothing, it is estimated by the state of Missouri that state and local government tax revenue could increase by as much as $214 million dollars.

Additionally, the extra money spent by low-wage workers gets funneled back to businesses large and small that need to hire more workers to keep up with the increased demand, helping to create even more economic growth. That’s great for those small, local businesses and it’s great for Missouri taxpayers. (Raise Up Missouri FAQ)

In November Missouri voters will consider a slow graduated increase of the minimum wage, here’s the ballot language for Proposition B:

Do you want to amend Missouri law to:

  • Increase the state minimum wage to $8.60 per hour with 85 cents per hour increase each year until 2023, when the state minimum wage would be $12.00 per hour;
  • Exempt government employers from the above increase; and
  • Increase the penalty for paying employees less than the minimum wage?

State and local governments estimate no direct costs or savings from the proposal, but operating costs could increase by an unknown annual amount that could be significant. State and local government tax revenue could change by an unknown annual amount ranging from a $2.9 million decrease to a $214 million increase depending on business decisions. (Raise Up Missouri)

The full detailed language can be viewed here.

Missouri’s current minimum wage is $7.85/hour.  Three border states (Oklahoma, Kansas, & Iowa) have a lower minimum wage than Missouri — all are the same, $7.25. The three other border states (Arkansas, Nebraska, & Illinois) have higher minimum wages than Missouri. Of the three that are higher, they range from $8.25 (Illinois) to $9 (Nebraska).

Hourly workers aren’t just teens, they include all sorts — including Yale-educated actors like Geoffrey Owens:

He went on to say that he took the job at the grocery store because it allowed him the “flexibility” he needed to stay in the entertainment business.

Owens still acts and has been teaching acting classes for several years. He has a net worth of $300,000. In addition to his work on The Cosby Show over the years, Owens has appeared on episodes of Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, That’s So Raven, Boston Legal, Las Vegas, Medium, Without a Trace, Flashforward, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and The Affair.

Owens worked at Trader Joe’s for 15 months but had to quit because of the unwanted attention, however, the company said that he is welcome to come back anytime. (Source)

Owens is the son of a former librarian turned congressman (since retired, deceased).  Hourly workers might be 17…or 57, but they’re working and their earnings will likely be spent — going back into the economy.

Here are the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: How do you plan to vote on Proposition B in the November 2018 midterm election?

  • Definitely no 4 [19.05%]
  • No 0 [0%]
  • Leaning no  0 [0%]
  • Unsure 2 [9.52%]
  • Leaning yes  4 [19.05%]
  • Yes 1 [4.76%]
  • Definitely yes 9 [42.86%]
  • I’m not a Missouri voter 1 [4.76%]

Please vote YES on Prop B on November 6th.

— Steve Patterson

 

Labor Day 2018 Will Celebrate Recent Defeat of Right-To-Work

September 3, 2018 Economy, Featured Comments Off on Labor Day 2018 Will Celebrate Recent Defeat of Right-To-Work
Labor Day Parade in downtown St. Louis, 2009

I imagine the Labor Day parade today will be a celebration of the recent defeat of “right to work” in Missouri.

Voters in Missouri have overwhelmingly rejected a right-to-work law passed by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature that would have banned compulsory union fees — a resounding victory for organized labor that spent millions of dollars to defeat the measure.

With about 98 percent of the precincts reporting, the “no” vote on Missouri’s Proposition A, which supported the law, was running about 67 percent, with nearly 33 percent voting “yes.”

In 2017, the right-to-work law passed Missouri’s Republican Legislature and was signed by then-Gov. Eric Greitens. However, union organizers gathered enough signatures to keep it from going into effect pending the results of a statewide referendum. The rejection of Proposition A effectively kills the law. (NPR)

I thought our deep-red state would support Prop A and approve right-to-work. This seems to show a good campaign can sway enough rural voters.

This ballot box win got national attention, here’s partly why:

The rejection of this law stands in direct opposition to the Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME earlier this summer that declared workers have a constitutional right not to pay union dues. That ruling applies to public-sector unions in the 22 states that did not have right-to-work laws—Missouri is now the 23rd state to which that ruling applies. As the first major fight over unions since the Janus decision, some see Missouri’s referendum as an indication of the public’s support for unions beyond the state’s borders. (Fortune)

Growing up with conservative parents in highly conservative Oklahoma meant I had a low opinion of unions growing up, but living in St. Louis for 28+ years has given me an appreciation for the important role of unions.  From the summary of a report by the Economic Policy Institute:

Unions have a substantial impact on the compensation and work lives of both unionized and non-unionized workers. This report presents current data on unions’ effect on wages, fringe benefits, total compensation, pay inequality, and workplace protections.

Some of the conclusions are:

  • Unions raise wages of unionized workers by roughly 20% and raise compensation, including both wages and benefits, by about 28%.
  • Unions reduce wage inequality because they raise wages more for low- and middle-wage workers than for higher-wage workers, more for blue-collar than for white-collar workers, and more for workers who do not have a college degree.
  • Strong unions set a pay standard that nonunion employers follow. For example, a high school graduate whose workplace is not unionized but whose industry is 25% unionized is paid 5% more than similar workers in less unionized industries.
  • The impact of unions on total nonunion wages is almost as large as the impact on total union wages. The most sweeping advantage for unionized workers is in fringe benefits. Unionized workers are more likely than their nonunionized counterparts to receive paid leave, are approximately 18% to 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are 23% to 54% more likely to be in employer-provided pension plans.
  • Unionized workers receive more generous health benefits than nonunionized workers. They also pay 18% lower health care deductibles and a smaller share of the costs for family coverage. In retirement, unionized workers are 24% more likely to be covered by health insurance paid for by their employer.
  • Unionized workers receive better pension plans. Not only are they more likely to have a guaranteed benefit in retirement, their employers contribute 28% more toward pensions.
  • Unionized workers receive 26% more vacation time and 14% more total paid leave (vacations and holidays).

Like many people, my husband is working today. OK, a half day. I might check out pre-parade events:

  • 6 a.m. protest at the McDonald’s on 1119 N. Tucker to protest cutting back the current $10 an hour wage to $7.65 more than 30,000 workers;
  • 7 a.m. – march from McDonalds to a public rally.
  • 8 a.m.- rally at 18th and Olive to urge more St. Louis’ businesses to maintain the $10 an hour wage that been already agreed to by over 100 firms.

The parade begins at 9:15am, 15th & Olive.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Sunday Poll? How Do You Plan To Vote On Prop B (Missouri’s Minimum Wage)?

September 2, 2018 Economy, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll? How Do You Plan To Vote On Prop B (Missouri’s Minimum Wage)?
Please vote below

Tomorrow is Labor Day, so today’s poll is related — wages. Specifically, Missouri’s minimum wage. A proposition on November’s ballot would, if passed, slowly increase the minimum wage. I’ll let Ballotpedia explain further:

How would Proposition B change the minimum wage in Missouri?

The measure would increase the minimum wage from $7.85 (2018) to $8.60 in 2019; $9.45 in 2020; $10.30 in 2021; $11.15 in 2022; and $12.00 in 2023. Thereafter, the minimum wage would increase or decrease each year based on changes in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).[1]

The initiative would penalize an employer who pays employees below the minimum wage and require the employer to provide the underpaid employee with the full amount of the wage rate plus an additional amount equal to twice the unpaid wages.[1] The measure would also exempt government employers from the minimum wage increase.[1]

What are the state’s current minimum wage policies?

As of 2018, the minimum wage in Missouri is $7.85 an hour. The minimum wage increases or decreases based on changes in the CPI-W. The current minimum wage was established in 2006, when voters approved a ballot initiative.

Prior to 2017, local governments in Missouri could set local minimum wages higher than the statewide minimum wage. In 2015, the St. Louis City Council passed an ordinance to increase the city’s minimum wage each year until reaching $11.00 in 2018. In 2017, voters in Kansas City approved Question 3, which was designed to increase the minimum each year until reaching $15.00 in 2022. During the 2017 legislative session, the Missouri State Legislatureapproved House Bill 1194 (HB 1194), which was designed to preempt municipal minimum wage ordinances. Proposition B would not affect HB 1194. Therefore, Kansas City would still be prohibited from increasing its local minimum wage to $15.00.

For more information, including pros & cons, check out the Ballotpedia Proposition B page. Ok, here is today’s poll:

This poll will close automatically at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

Economic Impact of PGA Championship Won’t Be Felt Where Needed Most; St. Louis Looked Favorable To A Wide Audience

August 15, 2018 Economy, Featured, St. Louis County Comments Off on Economic Impact of PGA Championship Won’t Be Felt Where Needed Most; St. Louis Looked Favorable To A Wide Audience

When it comes to economic impact estimates I’m largely a skeptic. Such was the case with last week’s PGA Championship:

The 100th PGA Championship Aug. 9-12 is expected to have an economic impact felt well beyond Bellerive Country Club’s picturesque course, up to $100 million, according to some estimates. Hotels are filling up downtown, nearly 20 miles from the course that’s situated in a mostly residential area with few hotels nearby. (Post-Dispatch)

Two key words: “Up to…” OK, so $100 million is the estimated maximum impact. What’s the very minimum? $10 million? $25 million? $50 million?   And “bel beyond?” I seriously doubt it’ll be felt in the region’s poorest zip codes.

I took a photo of my TV on Sunday

I’m not the only one questioning these estimates.

This month’s PGA Championship in St. Louis will generate $102 million in economic benefits for the state of Missouri.

Actually, it won’t. But inevitably, many fans watching or reading about the PGA Championship will hear or see that figure thrown about.

As in every sport these days, big events bring big claims of economic windfalls for the host cities. Tourism officials on Long Island projected the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills would generate $120 million in economic benefit. (Or maybe it was $130 million. Who’s counting?) A similar number was floated by the Angus (Scotland) Council this year with regard to the British Open at Carnoustie. Over the years, the Masters has been said to bring in a comparable nine-figure haul to Augusta, Ga. (GolfWeek)

The reasons are numerous. A lot of the fans that crowded into Bellerive Country Club were local. The money they spent on tickets, merchandise, food, etc would’ve likely been spent within the region anyway. Much of what they spent will leave the region, Visitors to St. Louis did spend money, hotels corporations will enjoy the profits. Some local businesses, such as those near parking venues, saw an uptick in business.

The 47,000 square-foot Championship Shops merchandise venue is located at the Main Entrance along the spectator walkway. This merchandise shopping experience offers men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel and headwear from major brands including Ralph Lauren, Nike, Adidas, Cutter and Buck, Under Armour, FootJoy, Travis Mathew, Forty Seven Brand, New Era, and many more! The Championship Shops also offers a major selection of exclusive accessories, gifts, and memorabilia. (PGA)

Hopefully the new money added to our economy meets or exceeds the money leaving our economy. Though I view televised golf as an event that too often delayed the news or 60 Minutes, I know championship events likely never benefit low income areas. How would they?  Golf and say North St. Louis have no connection. Oh wait…

Bellerive Country Club began in 1897 in north St. Louis as a nine-hole course with 166 members. In 1910, the membership incorporated as Bellerive Country Club, naming the club after Louis St. Ange De Bellerive, the last French commander in North America.

That same year, Scotsman Robert Foulis designed the “new Bellerive” in Normandy where the club remained for 50 years.

Led by Hord Hardin and Clark Gamble, the membership decided to move west in 1955, and allowed renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. to pick a prime farm location for the new site.

The “Green Monster of Ladue” opened on Memorial Day, 1960. (Bellerive Country Club)

I wanted to know more, so I dug deeper:

The club opened 121 years ago in 1897 as The Field Club, founded by several St. Louis sportsmen who wanted a place for golf and other leisure activities. Northwest of St. Louis, the course featured nine holes until another nine were added some years later. It was built on land leased from the estate of War of 1812 war hero Daniel Bissell.

In 1910, the club moved to nearby Normandy and renamed the Bellerive Country Club after Louis Groston de Saint-Ange de Bellerive, the last French governor of Illinois Country in 1765. With a Georgian-style clubhouse, Bellerive’s first notable event was the 1949 Western Amateur Championship. Four years later, it hosted the PGA Tour’s Western Open, won by E.J. “Dutch” Harrison.

In 1957, Bellerive put its 125-acre (0.5 km2) Normandy site on the market for $1.3 million. At the same time, the Normandy School District began discussing the need for establishing a junior college as an affordable alternative to the privately-owned Washington University and Saint Louis University. The club lowered the price to $600,000 and the Normandy Residence Center opened in a renovated clubhouse in 1960 with classes taught by the University of Missouri; the campus became the University of Missouri–St. Louisin 1963 and the nearby village is Bellerive. (Wikipedia)

A local site offers a little more specifics:

1897 St. Louis Field Club builds a 9 hole course near the Bissell Mansion. Triple A Club is organized. The First City Championship is held and E.E. Steedman of The Country Club is the winner. (STLGolfHistory)

I did find one more document with some great info:

ST. LOUIS FIELD CLUB.—On the Burlington Railroad, near St. Louis; a Field Club station is on the links. Organized and incorporated, 1897. Entrance fee, $25. Annual dues, $25. Membership, 127. The course consists of nine holes, which were laid out in October, 1897, by D. O. Ives and A. L. Kenneth.

President, D. O. Ives; vice-president, Harry S. Cullin; secretary, F. R. Bissell, 306 Wainwright Building, St. Louis; treasurer, Jno. S. Carter; governing committee, above officers and A. T. Perkins; greenkeeper, Ed. McNamara. (Official Golf Guide 1899)

At first I thought perhaps it became O’Fallon Park, but it opened in 1908.  I’d love to know a specific location for the course and train station. If anyone knows please comment oj this post on Twitter or Facebook.

Back to the recent PGA Championship — the television ratings, thanks to Tiger Woods, were impressive:

PGA Championship TV ratings are in and you won’t be surprised to learn that CBS is extremely happy with how they turned out. The network is the latest to reap the benefit of Tiger Woods’ latest comeback, announcing a 6.1 rating for Sunday’s final round, up 69 percent from 2017. Woods finished runner-up, but stole the show with a 64 that included a dizzying three-under par front nine in which he failed to hit a single fairway.

The final round peaked between 7:00-7:15 p.m. ET with an 8.3 rating. And St. Louis, where Bellerive Country Club is located, was the No. 1 market during the broadcast with an 11.5. The 6.1 also tied for the highest non-Masters TV rating since the final round of the 2012 U.S. Open. (GolfDigest)

I was one of those who tuned in (briefly) on Sunday.

While I’ll like to see more realistic numbers and an attempt to share the wealth through the region, I cannot stress enough how valuable it was for golf fans worldwide to see St. Louis in a positive context. Not sure if that’ll lead to anything, but can’t hurt how we’re perceived by those outside the region.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: What Impact Will The PGA Championship Have On Our Regional Economy?

August 12, 2018 Economy, Featured, STL Region, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: What Impact Will The PGA Championship Have On Our Regional Economy?
Please vote below

With the exception of Tuesday’s primary the news last week was dominated by the 100th PGA Championship held at Bellerive Country Club in suburban St. Louis County.

I’m not a golf fan, so my thoughts turned to economics:

The 100th PGA Championship Aug. 9-12 is expected to have an economic impact felt well beyond Bellerive Country Club’s picturesque course, up to $100 million, according to some estimates.

Hotels are filling up downtown, nearly 20 miles from the course that’s situated in a mostly residential area with few hotels nearby. (Post-Dispatch)

For today’s poll I’d like you to think about the economic impact on the regional economy.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

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