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Minimum wage in Louisville upped to $9

The Metro Council and Mayor Greg Fischer, who were at odds over increasing the minimum wage, reached an agreement Thursday night with the council voting to increase the minimum wage in Jefferson County to $9 an hour gradually over three years.

The council also tied increases beyond 2017 to the Department of Labor's Consumer Price Index for urban cities in the region.

Fischer, who had vowed to veto an increase above $8.75, said in a statement he was pleased with the council's vote and would sign $9 an hour because it was a balanced compromise.

"This gives hardworking families a raise while minimizing the risks of job losses for our city," the mayor said. He opposed the original proposal of $10.10 an hour because of concerns about job loss.

Activists and low wage workers who sat through the more than four-hour meeting cheered after the council voted 16-9 along party lines with all 16 council Democrats present voting for the increase.

"Every year from the fourth year on there is going to be a raise. We don't have to go through this again," Councilwoman Marianne Butler, D-15th District, said.

With the council tying future increases to the price index, Councilman Kevin Kramer, said "It won't stop at $9."

"It will continue to grow," said Kramer, R-11th District. He said that will continue to place Louisville and its businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

Business entities and council Republicans joined Fischer in his concerns about job loss and businesses relocating or not moving to Jefferson County because of higher wages than neighboring counties in Kentucky and Indiana.

"People's costs are going to go up. This will be passed on to consumers," Councilman Jerry Miller, R-19th District, said.

The law, which now goes to Fischer for his signature, increases the wage to $7.75 by July 2015, to $8.25 by July 2016 and $9 by July 2017.

"It isn't what we want. It isn't what we need. It isn't what our working people deserve. Our sky is not going to fall Chicken Little by raising the minimum wage," Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, D-5th District, said during discussion over lowering $10 an hour to $8.75.

Butler and Councilwoman Cindi Fowler, the Democrat who introduced the $8.75 amendment earlier in the night, urged the compromise because Fischer made it clear he would veto a higher amount.

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