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Kansas City Mayor Wants Some Nonprofits To Raise Their Minimum Wage

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KCUR 89.3

An ordinance introduced by Mayor Quinton Lucas would force some taxpayer-funded organizations to pay employees at least $15 an hour by 2022.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas wants taxpayer-funded nonprofits to raise their minimum wage.

In 2017, Kansas City voters approved a minimum wage of $15 an hour by 2022. Kansas City is on track to meet that goal for city employees.

But Missouri law prohibits cities from raising the minimum wage above the state level, currently $9.45 an hour.

The ordinance introduced Thursday would require nonprofit agencies that receive 25% or more of their funding from Kansas City and perform city services to increase their minimum wage.

“While we are limited by state statute in areas related to increasing minimum wage for privately-employed workers, we continue our work to ensure that any organization which receives a substantial portion of its revenue from the City — and the taxpayer — abides by the same expectations we would have for any City agency,” Lucas said in a statement.

The list of potential agencies includes the KC Pet Project, the American Jazz Museum, and the Westside Housing Organization, among others. It would also apply to some neighborhood groups like Northland Neighborhoods Inc. and the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Association.

Lucas said humane wage requirements correlate with crime reduction and could boost the city's economy.

“This is an important step to ensure all who work hard to maintain and improve our city also have resources to lift up themselves and their families,” Lucas said.

Rashida Phillips, Executive Director of the American Jazz Museum praised Lucas’ proposal.

"The Mayor has the American Jazz Museum's full support with this ordinance," Phillips said in an e-mailed statement. "The majority of our staff are already above $15 per hour and we've planned for upward movement for all others based on what the ordinance requires."

A spokeswoman for the Kansas City Streetcar Authority said the ordinance would not affect that agency’s three employees.

Several organizations did not immediately return KCUR’s request for comment.

Earlier this year, the city council passed a pair of ordinances that would impose a residency requirement and a salary cap on the top positions in any organization receiving more than 25% of its funding from Kansas City taxpayers.

In 2018, Missouri voters approved a gradual increase of the statewide minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023.

A city council committee will discuss the measure next week.

Slow news days are a thing of the past. As KCUR’s news director, I want to cut through the noise, provide context to the headlines, and give you news you can use in your daily life – information that will empower you to make informed decisions about your neighborhood, your city and the region. Email me at lisa@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @larodrig.
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