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Minimum Wage Hike Would Help 52,000 Kentucky Families Get Off Food Stamps

A new report released this week by the Center for American Progress finds that increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 would help at least 52,000 Kentucky families get off food stamps, in turn saving $97.3 million in government spending.

While Congress has been unable to pass legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage, Democrats in the Kentucky House of Representatives have taken the lead by passing House Bill 1, which will gradually increase Kentucky’s minimum wage to $10.10 by July 2016.

Last month’s investigation by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office on the impact of a $10.10 minimum wage, furthermore, found that such an increase would lead to more income for 16.5 million low-wage workers, and lift 900,000 American families out of poverty. As a result, overall income will increase by $2 billion. According to a report conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, GDP growth would total about $22 billion as a result of a federal minimum wage increase to $10.10.

Kentucky House Democrats correctly observed that a full-time earner of a $7.25 minimum wage only makes $15,080 a year, an income that does not constitute a living wage. In passing House Bill 1, House Democrats were also responding to the will of the majority of Kentuckians, who support House Bill 1 by almost a 2:1 ratio. With the latest reports portraying a positive economic impact and reduced spending as a result of a minimum wage increase, Republican opposition to the legislation is becoming increasingly unjustified.

Kentucky Senate Republicans continue to say that House Bill 1 does not have “much chance in the Senate.” This is unfortunate, and we call on them to reconsider their position for the sake of Kentucky’s families, and for the benefit of Kentucky’s economy.