As Kentucky lawmakers consider increasing the state’s minimum wage, a WKU economics professor is warning such a move could have negative consequences.
Dr. Brian Strow says a minimum wage hike would harm the people it’s meant to help.
"More than half of minimum workers are 24 and younger," Strow tells WKU Public Radio. "There's only about 15 percent of workers that are the major bread winner for their family."
The report, commissioned by the Bluegrass Institute, also notes that past minimum wage increase have resulted in higher unemployment in Kentucky relative to the rest of the country.
"We are particularly hurt by increasing the minimum wage relative to the number of people working in Kentucky because a larger percentage of our population is actually working at minimum wage than in other states," he adds.
The Democratic-led Kentucky House earlier this month passed a bill that would gradually raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. The measure faces dim prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate.
The last time state lawmakers approved a minimum wage increase was in 2007. Supporters say the last increase has been eroded by inflation in the cost of living.