McConnell: $10.10 minimum wage would cost 17,000 Kentucky jobs - News, Weather & Sports

McConnell: $10.10 minimum wage would cost 17,000 Kentucky jobs

Sen. Mitch McConnell (Source: WAVE 3 News) Sen. Mitch McConnell (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Alison Lundergan Grimes (Source: WAVE 3 News) Alison Lundergan Grimes (Source: WAVE 3 News)
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Sen. Mitch McConnell said raising the minimum wage now would be a “job killer” but didn't rule out supporting a future increase under certain circumstances.

A CNN poll shows the Republican senator leading Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes 50 to 46 percent among likely voters in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race. The poll results are within the margin of error.

[VIEW: CNN Poll]

A separate poll this weekend indicated similar levels of support for Republican-backed right-to-work legislation and a minimum wage increase, supported by Grimes and other Democrats.

“There are circumstances under which, when you have a better economy, raising the minimum wage might make sense,” McConnell told reporters Wednesday in Louisville. “But the last thing we want to be doing right now is to be killing jobs.”

Respondents to the Bluegrass Poll released this weekend supported raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 cents an hour from $7.25. The margin was 55 percent to 37 percent.

[VIEW: Bluegrass Poll]

Separately, 55 percent of those polled favored allowing people to work in union shops without paying union dues, with 28 percent against.

Grimes has hammered McConnell as “out-of-touch” on jobs issues, and repeated the attack at the United Labor Picnic in Louisville on Monday.

“He is too busy trying to raise profits for the millionaires and billionaires while promising not to ever give a vote to raising the minimum wage for hardworking Kentuckians,” Grimes said.

Grimes will be in Louisville on Thursday.

McConnell referred reporters to a Employment Policies Institute study that indicated 17,300 fewer jobs would be created in Kentucky with a $10.10 minimum wage.

The EPI group has run a TV advertisement in Kentucky against increasing the minimum wage.

McConnell declined to comment about the resignation of his campaign manager, Jesse Benton, who quit Friday amid questions over what he knew about an “endorsement-for-pay” scandal involving a campaign he ran in 2012.

“I think we're going to be spending time talking about the issues that are related to the election,” McConnell said.

The senator also said Congress was “highly likely” to go along with President Barack Obama's yet-unannounced strategy to combat the Middle Eastern terrorist group ISIS.

Intelligence reports indicate ISIS has the ability to strike in the U.S., McConnell said.

“(The president) needs to remind everybody that this is not just some Middle Eastern dispute,” McConnell said. “These are people who want to kill us here at home.”

McConnell has three scheduled stops planned in Western Kentucky on Thursday, including on in Paducah.

Wednesday, the Center for Public Integrity estimated that 37,500 TV advertisements have aired on both sides of the U.S. Senate race. The majority of the ads supported Republicans, although the estimate includes the GOP primary between McConnell and Matt Bevin.

The campaigns and third-party groups have spent an estimated $3.64 per registered voter, the analysis concluded.

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