Louisville Metro Council members introduce minimum wage ordinanc - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville Metro Council members introduce minimum wage ordinance

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Some Metro Council members plan to use the rule of law to give 60,000 Louisville workers a raise -- but not everyone is on board with the proposition.It promises to be quite a battle at City Hall, but if the ordinance passes, Louisville would become the eleventh city in the country to raise the minimum wage.

Click HERE to read the proposed ordinance.


"I believe that 61,000 people who are currently working for minimum wage, deserve to be lifted out of poverty," said council member Attica Scott, one of the sponsors of the proposed ordinance.

Scott, Barbara Shanklin and Cheri Bryant Hamilton unveiled their proposal Monday morning. It would phase in an increase over three years, from $7.25 to $8.10 next year; to $9.15 in 2016; and to $10.10 in 2017.

"The price of gas, the price of groceries, everything has gone up but wages. Companies have gotten back to pre-recession levels. They're making profits. But it's not helping people at the bottom," said Hamilton.

Scott says she's confident all 17 democrats on the council will support the ordinance and perhaps some Republicans -- though the spokesman for the council Republicans says they are concerned about the plan.

But a noted local economist says the move would result in higher unemployment, fewer jobs for entry level workers, and higher prices for consumers. U of L emeritus professor Paul Coomes delivered that news to business executives this morning at Greater Louisville Inc, the regional chamber of commerce.

"We teach this in every introductory economics class, that minimum wage causes unemployment," Coomes told WDRB.

Coomes says some companies in Jefferson County could easily relocate to nearby counties where there are no minimum wage requirements.

"Labor costs are not the only factor but, at the margin, there will be some. I predict that," said Coomes.

 He says a better solution to help low-wage workers would be for Kentucky to increase the earned income tax credit on the state income tax.

But supporters insist raising the wage would put more, not fewer, dollars into the economy.

"Imagine having, at minimum, 61,000 people in the city of Louisville making, in three years, $10.10 an hour. That is more money that they will have to spend at businesses in the city of Louisville," said Scott.

The measure would exempt some workers, including those who earn tips, though their employers would be required to pay at least 45% of the minimum wage.

The ordinance will get a first reading this Thursday and then be assigned to a committee.

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