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Friday Marks First Phase Of Lexington Minimum Wage Hike

Low-wage workers in Lexington witnessed a small bump in their paychecks today. The first phase of the city’s minimum wage increase began, taking the hourly minimum rate from the $7.25 federal rate to $8.20.

Credit Josh James / WUKY

Jason Bailey with the left-leaning Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says, for many, the raise has been a long time coming.

"Ultimately, when it's fully implemented, 31,000 workers in Lexington will get an increase, and that's after decades where wages at the very bottom of the scale have been stuck because minimum wage has not kept up with inflation, not kept up with the cost of living," he says.

Bailey says Lexington is only the third city in the south to up the wage in recent years – Louisville being another. 

Opponents of the hike say the move could hurt small businesses and result in job losses. Business groups are currently challenging Louisville’s authority to raise the wage before the state Supreme Court.

Lexington’s minimum pay rate is set to top out at $10.10 on July 1, 2018.

Copyright 2016 WUKY

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now known as Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and Program Director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.