Yarmuth to rally for increased minimum wage in Louisville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Yarmuth to rally for increased minimum wage in Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth is hoping to get his constituents behind the push to raise minimum wage. The lawmaker is in Louisville today to make the case for the Fair Minimum Wage Act.

Yarmuth will host a rally at Martin Luther King Junior Park Monday morning. He will be joined by minimum wage workers struggling to make ends meet, and business owners who have elected to pay workers $10 per hour.

Yarmuth joins most democratic lawmakers who say the current minimum wage just isn't enough.

"People cannot live on $7.25 an hour," said Yarmuth, who points out that minimum wage has consistently gone up over the years, while minimum wage stays the same. "Minimum wage, in terms of its buying power, is 30% lower than it was 50 years ago."

In Kentucky, minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. For tipped workers, the rate is $2.13 an hour.

Yarmuth is pushing congress to pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act-- and up the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

"We have laboratories going on all over the country, in places where they pay more than the minimum wage, and in virtually all those places the economy is better, the unemployment rate is lower, and there are more jobs."

But not everyone in Yarmuth's district likes the idea.

"The economy hasn't recovered, and to up wages at this point is going to shut more businesses down," said Tracy Disney of Louisville.

Opponents also fear, it will make businesses raise prices

"We'll end up paying $15 for a burger at McDonalds," said Brette Hensley. "You raise minimum wage and everything else is going to get raised."

Hensley is a college student currently making minimum wage, and she thinks the increase will only hurt her.

"I work at Dollar Tree, and I'm the newest one that was hired, so I think I'll be out of a job because they'll have to make huge cutbacks."

But Yarmuth says, the increase will only result in a one to two percent bump in prices. Its something he believes consumers will be willing to pay.

"I don't think there is anybody who is selfish enough to believe they wouldn't pay one or two cents more for their burger or their milkshake in order for millions of Americans to have a better standard of living."

Yarmuth also says  raising the minimum wage to a little more than $10 over a two-and-a-half year period, will reduce the number of people seeking federal subsidies.

"When you pay a living wage, you're actually reducing the burden on the taxpayers," said Yarmuth. "You're ending these support programs that are so important."

The event starts Monday at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in downtown Louisville at 10 a.m.

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