At last night’s packed council meeting, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council voted 9-6 to increase the minimum wage in the city to $10.10 over the next three years. The ordinance provides that the minimum wage shall increase to $8.20 an hour on July 1, 2016, $9.15 an hour on July 1, 2017, and $10.10 an hour on July 1, 2018. Mayor Gray indicated to the media that he will sign the ordinance.
Neighboring Louisville passed an ordinance increasing the minimum wage to $9 over the next three years. A group of businesses challenged the Louisville ordinance and that case is currently pending before the Kentucky Supreme Court. The Court will ultimately have to decide whether cities have the authority to increase the minimum wage.
This issue is being hotly contested all across the country, with proponents of a minimum wage increase arguing that families cannot live on the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Opponents of the wage increase argue, on the other hand, that raising the minimum wage will hurt lower income families because it will result in lost jobs and increased cost in everything from groceries to gas. Others argue that job training and education are more proper avenues to raise working families’ incomes.