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Fischer Cites Business Experience in Opposing $10.10 Louisville Minimum Wage Increase

Minimum wage increase supporters at a recent Metro Council meeting.
Minimum wage increase supporters at a recent Metro Council meeting.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said his opposition to a minimum wage boost to $10.10 an hour is based largely on his business experience.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Fischer said he expects a city-wide increase to $10.10 an hour would eliminate thousands of jobs—but the opinion was not based on any specific research.

He said he made his decision based on: "35 years of business experience and 35 years of caring for people, four years of (being) mayor."

Fischer added: "We don't have a specific study for our economy, because the economy is fluid. In a complex issue like this I have to base this on what I know how the economy works."

Fischer said he will support a minimum wage increase of no more than $8.75 an hour.

On Monday, a Metro Council committee approved an ordinance that would incrementally increase the city's minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour by 2017. Soon after the vote,, Fischer issued a statement vowing to veto the ordinance if passed by the full council.

The Metro Council is expected to vote on the proposal Thursday.

When asked what his job loss projections were if the minimum wage moves to $8.75 an hour, Fischer said "it's obviously unknown."

"I hope it will be minimal," he added.

He said a boost to $8.75 is balanced approach that will not lead to excessive job loss "but will get us a gain in the wage."

"Ultimately, I believe that is the compassionate action to take," he said.

Fischer expressed his support for wage increases on a state level, which he said would help bolster the case for federal minimum wage hike.

He noted that he's faced criticism this week for opposing the minimum wage increase to $10.10.

"Some people have criticized me for having a business background, other people think it's a good thing," he said.  "One thing I can tell you is I understand how business works."

"We've got this paralysis in Washington, D.C.," he said.  "There needs to be enough action at the city and state level to hopefully impact D.C., so this is nationwide change."

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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