For Immediate Release: February 28, 2023
Contact: Traci Gleason
Clean Slate Legislation Would Address Missouri’s Workforce Needs, Boost Economy
As Missouri businesses search for employees to fill open positions, a new economic analysis from the Missouri Budget Project shows that “Clean Slate” legislation would strengthen the workforce and boost local economies – in addition to improving economic opportunity for more than 500,000 Missourians and their families.
“Across Missouri, small business owners like myself are still trying to fill a huge number of open jobs, even with record low unemployment,” said Jackie Huebbe, Owner of SugarBot Sweet Shop in St. Charles. “To strengthen our economy and bolster our growth, we need to expand the talent pool. Clean Slate will do just that. This bill is a common-sense solution that will keep our state competitive and make Missouri a better place to live, work, and do business.”
Many hardworking Missourians seeking to build better lives struggle to find work because of past convictions, despite having already paid their debt to society. Although many are eligible to have their records cleared, the process to do so is expensive, time-consuming, and difficult to navigate. Proposed Clean Slate bills would make the process automatic for eligible individuals, ensuring they can better provide for their families and offering a second chance to those who have earned it.
“Clean Slate would allow thousands of Missourians to more fully participate in society and better provide for their families,” said Amy Blouin, President & CEO of the Missouri Budget Project. “After expungement, folks are more likely to be employed and earn higher wages than they otherwise would have, with Black Missourians and women standing to see the largest increases after their records are cleared.”
- Afterexpungement, justice involved individuals are 13% more likely to be employed and on average see a 23% increase in annual wages.
- Black Missourians (who earn an average 62 cents per dollar earned by white Missourians) and Missouri women (whose annual earnings are 78.7% that of men) would see the largest wage increases post-expungement, with average wage increases of 25 and 30 percent respectively.
- On average, expungement is associated with a $4,444 increase in annual wages for each impacted person.
MBP’s analysis shows that the economic value of Clean Slate far exceeds the individual impact, with Missourians’ wages increasing by an estimate $2.3 billion annually statewide.
“While the benefits to Missourians and their families are significant,” said Blouin, “those benefits are magnified when you consider the overall impact of Clean Slate to the state as a whole. As folks spend their paychecks, these dollars flow in and out of local businesses, further boosting local economies.”
MBP estimates that the overall economic impact of Clean Slate in Missouri would be $2.9 billion annually.
“Missouri employers are desperate to fill positions, and Clean Slate would add tens of thousands of Missourians back to the workforce,” said Mallory Rusch, Executive Director of Empower Missouri. By enacting Clean Slate, legislators can help our state rebuild our workforce and communities and offer Missourians the opportunity to provide for their families.”
The Missouri Budget Project is a nonprofit public policy analysis organization that analyzes state budget, tax, and economic issues.