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Lex. Minimum Wage Ordinance Approved in 9-6 Vote

Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council made its decision Thursday on an ordinance that would raise the city’s minimum wage.  

After nearly two hours of comment by Lexington residents, local business owners, and  several state legislators, the Urban County Council began its final deliberations on the measure, which would raise the city’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over the next three years.  Some, such as at-large councilmember Kevin Stinnett, said the increase would put an unfair burden on local businesses. 

“The only way they can make it up, labor control, cut jobs, cut hours, increase prices, or cut their profits.  Probably the first two are going to happen.  That’s the only way to make up $92 million in this community,” he said.  

Others, such as Vice Mayor Steve Kay, cited studies saying wage increases in other cities had no significant negative impact.  He also said the benefits far outweigh such impacts. 

“We know that somewhere between 20-30,000 people will benefit directly, with the ability to afford better housing, food, and clothing for their families, the ability to pursue education, and many will be less dependent on government support programs,” he said.

Shortly before the vote, Mayor Gray, who had previously been evasive on the question of the ordinance, voiced his support.    

“I am on record as having said many times that the minimum wage should be raised, and that it is the responsibility of congress to do it so it applies evenly across the country, but since the Congress has not done its job, our council and other members of this community have sought a local solution.  While a local ordinance is not ideal, there is quite simply no hope in the foreseeable future that Congress will do its job on such an important issue," he said.

Ultimately, the measure passed, 9-6.

Votes in Favor: Akers, J. Brown, Evans, Gibbs, Henson, Kay, Lamb, Moloney, Mossotti,

Votes Opposed: Bledsoe, F. Brown, Farmer, Hensley, Scutchfield, Stinnett

Chase Cavanaugh first got on the air as a volunteer reader for Central Kentucky Radio Eye, a local news service for the visually impaired. He began reporting for WUKY in February 2012, after receiving his Master’s degree from the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.
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