Minimum Wage Debate

By: Ryan Dearbone
By: Ryan Dearbone

Democratic lawmakers are hoping that after one failed attempt, they can finally pass a bill that would increase your minimum wage.

Democratic leaders have announced they plan to push for a bill that would increase minimum wage from its current $5.15 an hour to around $7 an hour in order to lessen poverty in Kentucky.

"The minimum wage hasn't been raised since 1996. We know that inflation has increased every year since then. So the take home pay of someone who is at $5.15 or anywhere near there has really been eroded by inflation," said House Speaker Democrat Jody Richards.

Speaker Jody Richards also said the move to raise minimum wage would serve as a way to help those who are living under the poverty line.

So far, 30 other states have moved their minimum wage above the national average.

However, Western Kentucky University Economics Professor Dennis Wilson said that a move like that could bring in new problems for the state such as outsourcing.

"If Kentucky workers become more expensive than outsourcing to other states: Missouri, or Illinois or Indiana or Tennessee, is a much more attractive option if such options are readily available for employers," Wilson said.

Other issues that opponents to the bill said could happen is that the minimum wage hike would end up hurting those that it is set up to help by causing more people to be fired for under-performance and greater requirements on the job.

A survey from the Employment Policies Institute said a wage hike isn't even necessary.

"What they found was that almost 10 percent of people under the age of 20 are working at minimum wage . That drops to less than 3 percent for workers 20-25 years old and less than 1 percent of workers over the age of 25 actually only make minimum wage," said Jim Waters of the Bluegrass Institute.

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