Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kentucky House passes minimum wage increase

by Matt Hughes
J-E News Editor
Last week Kentucky law makers passed House Bill 1, a bill that could see the state mandated minimum wage raise by almost three dollars over the next three years.  The final vote came in at 54-44. with representatives Susan Westrom of Lexington and Jim Gooch  of Providence not voting.
Now that the bill has passed the House, it will head to the state senate for consideration.
“I’m encouraged and happy to see my colleagues in the House, both Democrat and Republican, reaffirm that we are committed to the idea that folks who work to earn a living ought to make a living wage,” Stumbo said. “While this increase, less than a dollar an hour staggered over three years, might not sound like a lot to some, I truly believe it will have an enormous impact on the working men and women who are doing everything they can to keep their families going on minimum wage.  We have asked them to stretch their dollars to the breaking point and I think what we have done today is the right thing.”
Stumbo signaled he would move to increase Kentucky’s minimum wage shortly before the start of the 2014 Legislative Session.  Stumbo opted to make raising the state’s minimum wage his top legislative priority after reading a testimonial in his hometown newspaper which spelled out how a full-time employee working 40 hours a week and 52 weeks a year would only make $15,080 before paying their first dime of taxes.
Under House Bill 1, Kentucky’s minimum wage would raise from $7.25, where it has stood since 2007, to $8.20 on July 1, 2014. It would raise again each year until the minimum wage is $10.10 in July of 2016. This will help the estimated 400,000 working Kentuckians who make at or below minimum wage. Additionally House Bill 1 will go a long way in securing the financial security of Kentucky’s children. According to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, 1 in 4 Kentucky children live in a home where at least 1 parent earns the minimum wage.
“Raising the minimum wage will have an immense effect on the working women in Kentucky trying to raise a family,” said Stumbo. “Bureau of Labor statistics show that a minimum wage worker in Kentucky is more than likely to be a woman, over the age of 25 who has at least one child. That’s who needs this legislation; that’s who deserves this legislation and who have waited long enough for a boost in minimum wage. I’m happy to have my colleagues in the House play a part in offering hard working Kentuckians a chance to get ahead – I hope our friends in the Senate follow suit.”
Kentucky’s minimum wage has been at $7.25 per hour since 2009. In 2007 and 2008 the rate was increased by $0.70 per hour from $5.15. That wage went all the way back to 1998 when the state raised the minimum wage from $4.25.

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