Minimum wage bill gains momentum

By Portia Williams -

FRANKFORT, Ky. — House Speaker Greg Stumbo’s House Bill 278 cleared the House Labor and Industry Committee on Thursday, meaning a gradual increase in minimum wage for Kentucky laborers.

With House Bill 278, there would be a gradual, three-step increase from the current $7.25-per-hour, each less than one dollar each year, to $10.10 per hour by the year 2018.

Stumbo who has been one of the biggest supporters of the House Bill 278, emphasizing that the increase is vital for the livelihood of families.

“It is way past time that we give a raise to those families who depend on the minimum wage,” Stumbo said. “Beyond the budget, no other bill the General Assembly considers this year would do more for our economy and improve the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of families. We need to take this step now, because waiting another year would just put these families further behind.”

Cheryl Moore, Mayor South Shore, Ky., said she sees the pros and cons of increase in minimum wage for the the state of Kentucky.

“I understand that people need higher wages to live, these are hard times right now for some families, and I am really concerned about that,” Moore said. “I am also concerned about small businesses, and how this will effect them so I sort of have mixed feelings on it,” Moore said. “I see the benefits in the wage increase, but I also see how it can impact the business sector.”

Speaker Stumbo also stated that a poll released earlier this month by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health found that almost 70 percent of adults in the commonwealth favored a minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour. That corresponds with a Bluegrass Poll from last March that showed raising the minimum wage was by far the most important issue in the governor’s race.

Businesses with annual gross sales up to $500,000 would be exempt, according to reports.

By Portia Williams

Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.

Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.