A majority of Louisville Metro Council Democrats are in support of raising the pay of local workers as other cities begin to take the lead on the issue.
Raising the hourly wage has been a heated debate across Kentucky’s political landscape, including the U.S. Senate race between likely Democratic nominee Alison Ludergan Grimes and Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell.
During a recent stop at a west Louisville business, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said such a proposal would hurt job opportunities, especially for minorities and younger workers.
But in an editorial appearing in Sunday’s Courier-Journal, 16 council Democrats repudiate Paul’s assessment, saying the federal minimum wage was “put into place precisely because the true ‘market wage’ failed to provide for a basic living standard.”
From The C-J:
The question now is not about the need for the minimum wage but rather its utility at its current rate of $7.25 an hour. When enacted the stated purpose of the minimum wage was to keep workers out of poverty, and increase consumer purchasing power in order to stimulate the economy; at its current rate it does neither.
Our opinion is that an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work speaks to the core of who we are as a city of compassion. Raising the minimum wage is not only sound economics, it’s the right thing to do.
Councilwoman Attica Scott has taken the lead on the subject, telling WFPL last month that she plans to propose a bill in the next few weeks that raises the local wage rate to $10.10 per hour.
Scott has said the gridlock in Congress and state government means that cities have to take the lead on economic policy for working-class residents.
Earlier this month, the mayor of Seattle made headlines when he proposed the city’s minimum wage be at $15 an hour.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer hasn’t commented on support a specific ordinance, but said in February that businesses that pay above minimum wage “hang on to their employees” and that it was “good business.”
In order to pass the council, any ordinance requires 14 votes.
*A spokesman for the Democratic caucus says Councilman David Tandy signed the the letter, but tt was accidently left off to the copy sent to the newspaper by mistake.