(Kansas City) -- In five days, voters in Missouri will have the chance to give many workers a raise by voting on Proposition B.
The ballot measure would take the minimum wage of $7.85 an hour up to $8.60 next year and then to $12 an hour by 2023.
Tony Wyche, communications director for Raise Up Missouri, the group behind the ballot measure, says a person working full-time at minimum wage only makes about $16,000 a year - not enough, he contends, to live and raise a family anywhere in the Show-Me State.
"We are working to raise the minimum wage so that people like home health care workers and child care workers and teachers' aides have the ability to take care of their families while also providing a much needed boost of economic activity and investment into small businesses," he states.
Both St. Louis and Kansas City have voted to raise the minimum wage in those cities in recent years, but the state legislature and governor moved to block municipalities from setting their own minimum wage.
Opponents of Proposition B say it would be a burden on employers and cost jobs.
Wyche says decades of evidence shows that other states that already have adopted a higher minimum wage saw positive outcomes.
"Over half the states in the country have, in fact, raised their minimum wage, and what we've seen is unemployment go down and incomes go up, and that's exactly what we're trying to do here in Missouri," he points out.
Wyche estimates that 25 percent of Missouri's workforce - 677,000 people - make less than $12 an hour or just over it - and so would likely see a wage increase if Proposition B passes and goes into effect.