ST. LOUIS -- Workers across Missouri will be recognized for their hard work this Labor Day Weekend with an extra day of rest. Just like most Missourians, U.S. Senate Candidate Claire McCaskill will head to cookouts, parades and family gatherings, but she has one topic most on her mind: After almost a decade, it's time to give Missouri workers a raise! McCaskill discussed her dedication to the cause on a phone call with local reporters today and also questioned Senator Jim Talent's silence on the issue.
"It's been almost ten years since hard working families in Missouri got a raise," McCaskill said. "In addition to the fact that working families deserve it -- plain and simple -- an increase in the minimum wage would create jobs, boost the economy, and help small businesses. Why on earth would someone oppose an economic stimulus like that? I sure wouldn't."
McCaskill cited statistics that show 256,000 Missourians would benefit from a raise in the minimum wage, resulting in $85 million to workers supporting their families. Additionally, a minimum wage increase would actually result in a boost to the economy as well. Governor Matt Blunt's own Division of Budget and Planning stated that Missouri's economy would see an additional $21 million from new money spent as a result in an increase. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the last time Missouri raised the minimum wage 90,400 jobs were added to Missouri's workforce. An increase would also improve small business growth.*
McCaskill discussed her opponent's record of opposing a minimum wage increase and questioned the reasoning for his silence on the state initiative. Talent has voted against an increase in the minimum wage 11 times, despite taking a pay raise of $31,600 since he's been in Washington. Talent called a minimum wage increase a "bad concept" and even the Associated Press reported: "Applying [Talent's] comments to Missouri's ballot measure, it could be inferred that Talent is opposed to it."
Instead of standing on principle and stating that he is opposed to an increase in the minimum wage, Talent refuses to take a position on the state ballot initiative. Despite hiding behind the excuse of not taking positions on state measures, he took exception to opposing the stem cell ballot initiative because it was similar to timely federal action. In June, Talent voted against a federal increase in the minimum wage. Thus, based on Talent's own guidelines, he should take position on the state initiative.
"Senator Talent has voted against raising the minimum wage 11 times. With a record like that, why would you be afraid to stand on your principles?" McCaskill said. "I just don't know what's worse -- that he's against it, or that he won't say that he's against it. Missourians deserve to know where he stands on this."