Entries in Missouri (5)


Missouri Petitions to Raise Minimum Wage

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- What's the national minimum wage? If you're, say, one of three Republican candidates running in Missouri's U.S. Senate primary, you might be hard-pressed to remember it (it's $7.25).

But if you're one of about 173,000 people living in Missouri, you can probably rattle it off the top of your head. That's the number of people in Missouri -- enough signatures to put the measure on the November ballot -- who signed a petition to raise the state's minimum wage from the national average per hour to $8.25 in 2013, and provide for cost-of-living adjustments in the future.

The measure would also require that employees who earn tips receive 60 percent of the state minimum wage, up from the current 50 percent. And if the federal minimum wage rises above the state rate, then Missouri would adopt the federal wage and apply cost-of-living adjustments to that.

There's a good chance that the measure will pass. Missouri Jobs with Justice, a backer of the minimum wage proposal, supported a successful campaign in 2006 to approve a ballot measure that raised Missouri's minimum wage to $6.50, with adjusted cost-of-living increases.

But not everyone is in favor of it. Some critics of the change says the ballot summaries and cost estimates for the proposals are unfair.

Many economists maintain that raising the minimum wage can negatively impact employment numbers, especially among teenagers and young workers. Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James Equity Research, in St. Petersburg, Fla., said that he does not think the Missouri situation would cause any problems. "It's probably not going to matter much," he said. "The typical concern is that it will lead to less-entry level jobs for young people. That's the fear. But again -- what's the going wage and what are the typical starting salaries in an office or fast food? Very often those are well above the minimum wage in some areas."

On its website, the U.S. Department of Labor lists the states whose minimum wage is above the national average, below, the same -- or doesn't have a minimum wage law. (23 states have a minimum wage at the federal level of $7.25.)

Here's the top states with the highest minimum wages:

1. Washington


2. Oregon


3. Vermont


4. Nevada, Connecticut, Illinois


Here are the bottom states with the lowest minimum:

47. Arkansas


(Applicable to employers of 4 or more)

48. Georgia


49. Minnesota

Small employer (enterprise with annual receipts of less than $625,000) $5.25

Large employer (enterprise with annual receipts of $625,000 or more) $6.15

50. Wyoming


(Applicable to employers of 4 or more employees)

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Branson, Missouri: After Tornado, Tourists Welcomed

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(BRANSON, Mo.) -- Photos of tornado damage in Branson, Mo., show wrecked cars and smashed buildings, but the show must go on in the entertainment center.

The debris had barely settled when the town’s public relations team distributed a press release titled: ”Branson recovery already underway after brush with tornado.”

Branson, which has a population of about 10,000 according to the U.S. Census, had a close encounter with a tornado earlier on Wednesday.  Gary Groman, media relations for Branson, which is called the Midwest’s music theater capital, said the population of the town can swell to hundreds of thousands of people on the weekends.

The “Branson strip,” which refers to the theaters, restaurants and other attractions along the part of Highway 76 that runs through the town, was open on Thursday though it was closed the day before, Groman said.

About four or more of the town’s 50 theaters were hit by the tornado, he said, while the vast majority were not badly damaged.

About a dozen of the 200-plus hotels in the town “have sustained significant damage as a result of the storms,” but the Branson Airport was unaffected by the storms, Branson’s Convention and Visitors’ Bureau said.

The Branson Variety Theater is closed pending repairs, and a spokeswoman said ticket holders can call the theater for a refund or make arrangements to attend another time.  The Americana Theatre is closed for repairs and its calls are being re-routed to the RFD-TV theater, which hosts the Roy Rogers, Jr. show.

Trey Pelz, the general manager of the RFD-TV theater said the majority of shows and hotels in Branson are still open for business.

“The town is at about 80 percent and within a month or two, we’ll be back to 100 percent,” Pelz said.

The release stated that major attractions such as Silver Dollar City, Sight and Sound Theatre, and Showboat Branson Belle, TITANIC Museum Attraction, Tanger Outlet Mall, and numerous theatres, attractions, restaurants and retail stores are “undamaged and remain open and [welcome] visitors to the Live Music Show Capital of the World.”

“We are extremely thankful that there was no reported loss of life due to the tornado that struck Branson on the morning of February 29, and our thoughts and prayers go out to those families who did lose loved ones as a result of this large storm system that affected much of the Midwest,” Branson’s city administrator, Dean Kruithof, said in the statement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


$6.1M Unclaimed Money Payout in Missouri Could Be Largest Ever in US

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(JEFFERSON City, Mo.) -- Someone in Missouri will get very lucky Wednesday when he or she becomes the recipient of the largest unclaimed money award in U.S. history: $6.1 million.

The states estimate that one in every 10 people has unclaimed money waiting for them. In dusty warehouses, in states all across the country, lie records detailing $32 billion worth of unclaimed money, just waiting for its rightful owners.

The $6.1 million check will go to a Kansas City woman who wants to remain anonymous.  Years ago, her ancestors invested in an obscure company. The stock got lost as it was passed down through the generations, growing to the sum it's worth today.

There have been other extra-large single unclaimed money awards before. New York State previously held the record for the largest unclaimed money payout when it returned $4 million. Wisconsin has returned $1.5 million.

Missouri has issued other significant payouts.  According to state treasurer Clint Zweifel, a man in St. Joseph, Mo., received $100,000, comprising unclaimed money from 15 different securities accounts.

"There is so much money that's out there waiting for Americans to claim," Zweifel told ABC's Good Morning America. "Just to give you an example, in Missouri alone I have more than $600 million on hand waiting for Missourians."

Missouri has already returned $103 million in unclaimed funds to more than 303,000 people in the state since January 2009.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


PepsiCo Commits $500,000 to Help Tornado Victims in Missouri

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(PURCHASE, N.Y.) -- PepsiCo announced Monday that it is committing $500,000 towards relief efforts in Missouri, where tornadoes and severe weather ravaged several towns like Joplin, leaving more than 100 people dead.

The company's latest contribution comes after a $125,000 commitment it made to help areas in the southern U.S. that were also affected by severe storms.

"The people of Joplin and other communities affected by these devastating storms are in our thoughts and prayers," said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi.  "They need our help more than ever, and the entire PepsiCo family will fully support the recovery and rebuilding process along the way."

Along with the financial contributions, PepsiCo has also been donating foods and beverages to the impacted regions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


The Home Depot Commits $1M to Recovery in Joplin, Missouri

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- The Home Depot Tuesday announced it would donate $1 million to Joplin, Mo. to help rebuild the city torn apart by a massive EF-5 tornado this week.  The company also committed to the long-term recovery efforts in Joplin.

"The devastation in Joplin is indescribable and we will be there to help this community get back on its feet," said Home Depot CEO Frank Blake in a statement Tuesday.  He added, "…the rebuilding will take years, and we are committed to Joplin for the long haul.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the residents of Joplin who are now struggling in the aftermath of this terrible storm."

The Home Depot has also launched "Drive for Joplin" through the Homer Fund, a charity for Home Depot associates needing emergency financial assistance.  This campaign is meant to support company employees affected by the tornado.

The Home Depot Foundation will travel to Joplin this week to assess the long-term needs of recovery in Joplin.  The Home Depot said it has plans to rebuild the store in Joplin.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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