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Many Pushing For A Raise In Kentucky's Minimum Wage

Many people throughout the mountains say they need an increased minimum wage to survive, but there are two sides to every issue and not everyone feels higher wages will pay off.

Kentucky Democrats in the state's House of Representatives plan to re-propose a bill in 2007 to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to as much as $7.25 an hour.

"I live on $6 an hour, but more would be better," Patricia Moblini said.

"Personally myself, I think minimum wage should be $10 an hour because it takes that for a person to live," Lean Short said.

But the wage increase remains controversial, because as much as a raise could benefit employees, some small business owners say they could be at risk.

"I would love to pay my employees 8 to 10 dollars an hour, but it's just a simple matter of economics. You have X amount of money, you can pay for wages," said business owner Tim Couch.

Couch says an increase means he would have to lay off employees.

"Most small business owners like myself, they're living week to week, month to month," Couch said.

Officials with local community action agencies say in Kentucky, a family of four needs to make 11 to 12 dollars and hour to make ends meet.

"At $5.15 an hour, that's not even half of what you need for a living wage when you consider they would have no type of government assistance," said Rick Baker with LKLP.

Baker says if people are making more money, they would need less government assistance and in the long run, he says this could mean tax incentives for those small business owners.

Kentucky's minimum wage has not changed since 1997, the same year the federal minimum wage increased.


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