Gov. Beshear issues executive order raising minimum wage for som - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Gov. Beshear issues executive order raising minimum wage for some state workers

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has issued an executive order mandating an increase in the minimum wage for state workers.

That means about 800 state workers in Kentucky will see a salary increase from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour.

The increase affects only workers in the executive branch of state government and will cost taxpayers about $1.6 million.

Tipped workers in state parks will be paid $4.90 per hour, up from the current $2.19 per hour. Private companies with state service contracts will have to pay their workers at least $10.10 per hour. But that won't take effect until the current contracts come up for renewal.

[READ THE EXECUTIVE ORDER]

Beshear said about a third of the affected employees work in state nursing homes caring for military veterans. Most of the other affected workers work in behavioral health centers and state parks.

On Monday afternoon, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer issued a statement on the decision:

"I applaud Governor Beshear for leading by example and raising the minimum wage for state government employees," Mayor Fischer said. "This will have a direct and real impact on families, much like it did when Louisville Metro Government increased the minimum wage for its lowest-paid workers. There is resounding support in Kentucky for increasing the minimum wage, and I hope the General Assembly takes that up in the next session."

Kentucky House speaker Greg Stumbo also sounded off on the executive order:

"As someone who has led the fight the last two legislative sessions to raise the state's minimum wage, I am certainly pleased to see Gov. Beshear take this step for our lowest-paid state employees, and I'm also supportive of having the legislative branch follow suit," Stumbo wrote. "I'm hoping that we finally convince the Senate to pass my bill next year. If we wait on Congress to act, as the law now calls for, the only thing we know for sure is that whatever they do, it will be too little, too late."

Kentucky House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover issued a statement blasting the decision:

"Today Governor Beshear is taking a page out of the Obama administration's playbook by forcing through failed legislation by executive action," Hoover's statement read. "It seems Governor Beshear apparently now understands he doesn't have to pass another budget and feels comfortable in adding to the strain on Kentucky's finances."

"The expansion of Obamacare in our Commonwealth along with the unfunded liability in the teachers' retirement system will increase the budgetary structural imbalance in excess of $250 million, which the General Assembly will have to address immediately. Today's action will have repercussions long after Governor Beshear has left office."

"Now may not be the time to place a recurring cost on top of the obligations we already have in our budget. We will delve into the specifics of the executive order, and then consider them along with the other commitments that need to be addressed during the normal budget negotiations in the 2016 Regular Session of the General Assembly."

Copyright 2015 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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