Judge rejects financial estimate for wage law

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — An initiative to raise Missouri's minimum wage may be in limbo after a judge ruled the state auditor has no authority to prepare financial estimates for ballot measures.

The ruling Friday by Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem reiterates a decision he issued in February against a separate initiative.

Backers of the initiative raising Missouri's minimum wage to $8.25 an hour submitted petition signatures earlier this month in an attempt to qualify it for the November ballot.

Under state law, the auditor prepares a financial estimate for initiatives that appear on the ballot.

But Beetem said that law violates the Missouri Constitution, which forbids laws imposing duties on the auditor that are not related to supervising and auditing the receipt and expenditure of public money.

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