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Lexington Council Committee Hears from Public on Minimum Wage Proposal

Stu Johnson

    A proposal to raise the minimum wage in Lexington got its first public hearing at city hall Tuesday afternoon.  The plan would increase the city's minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 over the next three years.  When the committee hearing ended, 19 people testified.  April Taylor is in favor of raising the minimum wage.  "We can support the pursuit of profit at all costs, or we can chose to care about women, children, and families," said Taylor.

Jesus Gonzalez  also favors the increase.  "We're already at the mercy of our employers.  They can fire us for any reason, at any time.  Something like that happens, we're making under ten dollars an hour.  We have nothing in the banks, no savings to back us up.  We're raising families.  We start from scratch again," said Gonzalez.

Those expressing concern about the proposal included Bob Quick, President of Commerce Lexington, an organization that represents some 1,700 businesses.  "This policy, as it is written, sends an anti-business signal to companies looking to expand or locate in Lexington," said Quick.

The measure would also raise the tip compensation rate by $1. Robert Ramsey, of Ramsey's restaurant, spoke against that portion of the plan.  "You have no idea what a dollar an hour for a server means to us.  Take that, the cost of insurance, Obamacare, you're gonna find that one of the great restaurant towns in America, you're gonna shut a lot of us down," said Ramsey.

No decisions were made by the Budget Committee.  It's scheduled to be back for further review in June.  Council Member Jennifer Mossotti hopes to see the issue back before the committee before then.?

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