Business owner-led petition could put Kansas City’s minimum-wage hike in voters’ hands

Business owners opposed to raising the minimum wage in Kansas City have gathered enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot.

The city election board notified the city clerk’s office Friday that Missourians for Fair Wages had exceeded the 3,400-name threshold necessary for a referendum.

The group opposes the City Council’s passage last month of an ordinance requiring that Kansas City employers pay workers a minimum of $8.50 an hour, with annual increases until the minimum wage reaches $13 by 2020.

The state minimum wage is $7.65, which is above the federal minimum of $7.25.

The wage boost was supposed to start this week, but that was automatically put on hold when the business group filed notice that it was collecting signatures for a referendum.

The council could end up deciding to put the measure up for a vote, repeal the ordinance or, depending on the circumstances, do nothing at all.

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