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Proposition A is the ill-advised initiative, proposed by a left-wing outfit calling itself the Association for Community Reform Now, to increase Missouri's minimum wage to a highest-in-the-nation $6.25 -- and to continue raising it annually from that high plateau. A Cole County circuit judge has ruled that an estimate of the cost of Proposition A to state and local governments will appear next to the initiative on the Nov. 5 ballot. In the interest of full disclosure, this is all to the good.

A bipartisan vote of a joint House-Senate committee voted last month to place the following fiscal note on the ballot next to the proposal: "Total state administrative costs will rise in excess of $100,000,000 annually by 2000. Local government costs are expected to rise in excess of $1,000,000 annually." Originally, the committee had voted to add the following sentence to the above-excerpted quote: "Revenue loss due to job loss may be significant." The judge left the first two sentences but struck the last from the ballot, allowing both backers and opponents of the proposal to claim a measure of victory.

The ballot language remaining in the fiscal note is a nearly self-evident statement of fact. State and local governments are large purchasers of goods and services. This includes, by the way, state institutions such as Southeast Missouri State University, the University of Missouri and our junior colleges, as well as institutions such as the Cottonwood Treatment Center for troubled juveniles. No rational person could deny that if you decree an overnight jump in the price of labor, costs of everything government and the rest of us buy will rise sharply.

It is good for Missourians to have all the facts on this one. Missouri should examine all the facts and then say no to Proposition A.