Senators Kit Bond and Jim Talent are on the winning side in a U.S. Senate vote that rejects a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage, but a Missouri group holds out hope for an increase at the state level. The goal of some Senators was to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour. Senator Bond says that while he supports a living wage for working people, the minimum wage is usually the money earned by newcomers to the work world. Bond adds small businesses really can’t afford to pay higher wages and would opt to hire fewer workers. Sara Howard with the Give Missourians a Raise Coalition says the minimum wage has been too low for too long, having stood at $5.15 since 1997. Howard is hoping Missouri voters will approve an initiative, in November, to raise the state’s minimum wage to $6.50 an hour and tie the wage to the cost of living.