Voters in two Republican-led states gave themselves a raise on Election Day, approving ballot measures in Tuesday's midterm elections that will boost pay for about 1 million workers.
Labor unions and other progressive groups pushing for higher wage have funded a lot of those groups.
In neighboring Arkansas, the current $8.50 an hour minimum wage will rise to $11 an hour by 2021. That boost will impact 300,000 workers, NELP estimates. Incomes have stagnated since the Great Recession, particularly among low and middle-income workers.
The chamber argued that the wage hike would raise prices on consumers and force business owners to cut workers' hours.
In Missouri, voters approved the minimum wage ballot question by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent.
For the first time, higher minimum wages appear to be gaining traction within both the Democratic and Republican parties. The Fairness Project is an advocacy group that supported the measures.
The minimum wage will now rise from $7.85 to $8.60 an hour starting January 1, and will go up 85 cents a year until 2023, when it hits $12 an hour, with cost-of-living increases kicking in annually after that. Missouri voters also approved a measure that will increase their state's minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023.
The state's current minimum wage of $7.85 per hour means a person working full-time hours would earn just over $16,000 a year.
Pay for the top 1 percent of American workers has soared, however. The ordinances, however, were short-lived after the 2017 state legislature passed House Bill 1194, barring municipalities from raising the minimum wage higher than Missouri's rate. Opponents of the initiative claimed that a minimum wage increase usurps the federal government's right to set wages and would hurt small businesses and Missouri's job market. Under the measure, the minimum wage will rise gradually over that five year period.