Louisville's minimum wage increased

Louisville's minimum wage increased

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The minimum wage went up by 50 cents Friday in Louisville. Minimum wage was $7.75, but hourly workers will now earn $8.25.

The third and final bump in the minimum wage is scheduled to happen next year when it goes up to $9 per hour.

"It will help out tremendous," said a Louisville man who makes minimum wage.

He said he would use the extra money to buy food and do things around his home.

"It is time to increase the minimum wage to give people a fighting chance," said Louisville resident Jami Wilson.

About 45,000 people in Metro Louisville make minimum wage. The people making it may not be who you think.    According to the United Food and Commercial Workers 227, there are more people over the age of 55 making minimum wage than teens.

"The middle class is looking more like our low income families," said Wilson.

At the Tavern in Old Louisville, Dan Borsch has 14 employees. Borsch has been paying them above the minimum wage well before the city passed its ordinance.
 
"It's been great for my business," said Borsch. "The more I can pay my employees, the better employees I'm gonna attract."

Borsch believes it makes him a better business owner too. He supports the increase, more people making money means more people eating at his restaurant.

Opponents had concerns that it would hurt their businesses. Some feared that they would have to move or let go of employees. 

Those who support the increase say when the ordinance took effect in July 2015, Louisville's unemployment rate was at 5.2 percent. At the end of May this year, the rate is at 4.2 percent.

Some question if the minimum wage increase even had anything to do with that.

"These are politicians that want to give people things," said Republican Councilman Kelly Downard. "We have no clue what effect this will have nor what it will have when it reaches $9."

"For a lot of people this is a political issue," said Metro Council President Democrat David Yates. "Metro Council took a different approach, we came and we studied it and we brought in experts. They told us in the event that you raise the local minimum wage what would be the economic impact. We listened to those experts and we passed it."

The council may be reviewing the ordinance to see if it should be increased even more to $10.10 an hour.

Whether the wage increase will be permanent is up to the state Supreme Court. The court is expected to rule this year on whether local governments, like Louisville Metro, can raise the minimum wage within their boundaries.

Copyright 2016 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.