Voters Approve Minimum Wage Hikes in Arkansas and Missouri

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Arkansas and Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved to increase the minimum wage in their states to $11 and $12, respectively.

Arkansas' Issue 5 was approved by voters by a wide margin with 68 percent voting in favor of the hike, according to local THV11 news. Governor Asa Hutchinson, who won re-election, had indicated it would be a "job killer for our youth particularly."

Arkansas' current minimum wage is $8.50 and it will rise incrementally to $11.00 by 2021.

Arkansans for a Fair Wage, the main group which pushed for the hike, argued that wages had not increased to keep up with the cost of groceries, housing, and other items.

The organization received large contributions from the Sixteen Thirty Fund, according to the Arkansas Gazette.

The Washington Free Beacon last year reported on the nonprofit Sixteen Thirty Fund, part of progressive efforts to hide big money in criticizing anti-Trump nominees.

In a tweet on Tuesday night, the group said, "You did it! Together we raised the wage for 300,000 hardworking Arkansans."

Arkansans for a Strong Economy, which opposed the initiative, was unsuccessful when it filed a petition with the state supreme court to strike the measure from the ballot.

In Missouri, Prop B was also approved and garnered 60 percent of the votes, according to the Kansas City Star. The $7.85 current minimum wage would rise to $8.60 an hour beginning on Jan. 1, 2019 then rise each year until it reaches $12 beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

Raise Up Missouri pushed for the wage hike and indicated 677,000 Missourians would benefit from the increase.

Associated Industries of Missouri, which represents businesses in the state, argued against Prop B, and its president and CEO Ray McCarty pointed out in a radio interview the negative impact before Election Day the minimum wage hike could have on jobs.

Both states have the lowest cost of living in the country. Missouri ranks seventh and Arkansas ranks second, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research.