Wages and their effect on business were a major debate at the Lexington Urban County Council’s Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee Meeting Tuesday.
9th District Councilmember Jennifer Mossotti introduced an ordinance that would increase the city’s minimum wage from $8.20 per hour to $10.10 and the minimum tipped wage from $2.41 to $2.73 over the next two years. She presented research from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, which said such an increase would help combat stagnant and declining wages in the economy, while having little effect on employment.
“Simply put, good wages are good business. It’s common sense. By raising the minimum wage right here in our community, we will help pave the path of opportunity for many hard-working Lexingtonians who are under that ever present pressure to simply provide for them and their families each month,” she said.
Low wage workers in the audience and some nonprofits expressed their support for the measure, but they were opposed by several local business interests, and the Lexington Chamber of Commerce. Its President, Robert Quick, called the measure hostile to growth.
“We have serious concerns about increasing Lexington’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, which is beyond the state and federal level, and what it will do to our economic competitiveness both regionally, statewide, or nationally. This policy as it is written sends an anti-business signal to companies looking to expand or locate in Lexington," he said.
The measure will remain in committee and be revisited in June.