Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley released a new report that shows low-wage fast-food jobs cost Americans nearly $7 billion every year.
The study includes a breakdown by state that reveals fast food jobs annually cost Missouri taxpayers about $146 million.
Several fast food workers gathered near a Columbia Taco Bell to spread the word about the new report on fast food wages. Protesters said the new information proves taxpayers would save money, if fast food workers got a bigger paycheck.
According to the Berkeley report, Americans are forced to cover fast-food workersâ?? food, healthcare and other basic needs because the jobs in the industry just donâ??t pay enough. James Brown works at a Columbia Taco Bell and gets food stamps and other government assistance. Brown said he is the perfect example of how American taxpayers are getting ripped off because of his small paycheck.
Brown said, â??Itâ??s a shame that taxpayers have to continue to pay tax dollars to people like me who have a job and still have to survive off of government assistance.â??
The report shows more than half of American fast food workers can enroll their families in government assistance programs.
Higher wage supporter Reverend Molly Housh-Gordon said, â??I believe that it is immoral that hard working families should have to rely on public assistance to meet the very necessities of life.â??
This past summer, fast food workers in Columbia walked off their jobs for one day as part of a nationwide strike against the $200 billion industry. They wanted $15 an hour.
According to the Employment Policies Institute, raising the minimum wage would hurt fast food workers because restaurant owners would replace some of their workers with automated machines.
Columbia has 2,300 fast food workers.
Their average wage is $8.53 an hour.