Waiters and waitresses who work for tips would be removed from provisions of the state minimum wage law under a bill moving forward in the House.
Missouri voters approved increasing the state minimum wage in 2006, including in the law year-by-year cost-of-living adjustments. A bill receiving preliminary approval in the House, HB 258 , would remove workers who receive tips from the law.
Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) criticizes the sponsor.
"He’s driving directly at hard-working, poor women," Kelly tells colleagues.
Not so, responds sponsor Tim Jones (D-Eureka), who claims that including tip servers in the minimum wage law is crippling the restaurant industry and costing jobs.
"Their margins have been squeezed to the point where some restaurants don’t exist anymore," Jones says during House floor debate. Jones says some restaurants with big names who many would think have the cash reserves to weather the economic slump have had to close.
"How many jobs have been lost," Jones asks his critics.
An amendment to the bill would allow wages for tip servers to bump up to$ 3.62 an hour this summer, they then would stabilize, and become subject to federal minimum wage laws. Jones says it makes little difference, because he claims a good waitress can make $12-to-15 an hour off tips.