Kansas City voters to weigh minimum wage hike Tuesday

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Voters in Kansas City, Missouri, will on Tuesday consider raising the city's minimum wage well above the state minimum, even though a new Missouri law forbids cities from making their own rules on the issue.

The measure is among several in local elections across Missouri.

The Kansas City proposal would create a minimum wage of $10 per hour on Aug. 24 and increase it annually starting Sept. 1, 2019, eventually reaching $15 per hour in 2022.

But if it passes, what happens next isn't clear. Missouri's Republican-led Legislature passed a measure in May barring local governments from enacting minimum wages different from the state's minimum. Some advocates in Kansas City are pushing for a lawsuit.

The state law is effective Aug. 28. It forced St. Louis to stop requiring a $10 minimum wage and revert to the state minimum of $7.70 per hour. The St. Louis law was the subject of a two-year court battle before the Missouri Supreme Court allowed it in May. Days later, the new state law was passed that, in effect, struck down the St. Louis law.

More than 100 St. Louis businesses have signed a pledge to keep paying their employees more than $10 despite the rollback.

The Service Employees International Union, Kansas City AFL-CIO and other groups say they'll launch a statewide campaign Tuesday morning outside City Hall in Kansas City in support of a higher statewide minimum wage.

Kansas City voters will also consider a measure to raise sales tax to help fund a 25-mile (40-kilometer) rapid rail route from Vivion Road to the Kansas City Zoo, with an extension to the Truman Sports Complex. Another proposal would prohibit spending on streetcar expansion without approval from voters.

The election also will include tax proposals in several St. Louis suburbs, including a measure to pay for infrastructure improvements in St. Ann and one to fund police pensions in Overland.

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