Politics

The first phase of Louisville minimum wage hike is slated to kick-in July 1. Weeks before the increase takes effect, members of Louisville’s small business community have mixed feeling.

The minimum wage is set to increase from $7.25 an hour to $7.75 next month—and up to $9 an hour in two years.

Many shop owners downtown and in the Highlands said they won’t be affected by the ordinance passed last year, because they already pay their employees more than $9 an hour.

Gordon Jackson, owner of Old Town Wine and Spirits, has about a dozen employees. He said paying people a livable wage is a moral issue for him.

“I think pretty much anyone with a conscience is going to pay their people a wage that they can live on,” Jackson said.

But not all small business owners feel the same way. Some worry the change will drive up prices and lead to job losses.

Jackson said he believes paying employees more is better for business.

“I think that for less than 10 or 12 dollars an hour, I don’t find that people stick around,” he said.

An informal survey conducted by the Louisville Independent Business Alliance found that among its own members opinions are very mixed.

To the question: “What are your feelings about the proposed raising of the minimum wage?” 42 percent of respondents said they were “very against” the wage hike, while 34 percent said they were “very supportive.”

Jennifer Rubenstein, the Director of the Louisville Independent Business Alliance, said that’s why her group hasn’t taken a position on Louisville’s new law.

A lawsuit filed by industry groups—some based in Frankfort—challenging the Metro Council’s ordinance in Circuit Court is a pending lawsuit. The judge is expected to rule on it before July 1, The Courier-Journal recently reported.