McConnell says minimum wage hike is a 'job killer', but once the economy rebounds it 'might make sense'

09/07/2014 10:04 AM

With an election being waged partially on the issue of raising the federal minimum wage and a new poll showing a majority of Kentuckians favoring the hike the candidates in the race for U.S. Senate are both making the case for why they are on the right side of the issue.

Speaking to reporters in Louisville on Wednesday U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who has said throughout the campaign that he is not in favor of raising the minimum wage, said a hike to the pay of the lowest earning workers would kill jobs.

McConnell said the issue was a political one, which polls well, but he said studies show it will have a negative effect on the state.

Pointing to an “independent study” McConnell said that 17,000 jobs would be lost in Kentucky . The study report was produced by U.S. Senate Budget Committee Republican staff using using “data analysis and job loss estimates prepared by the Employment Policies Institute.”

A Economic Policy Institute study shows in Kentucky 462,000 workers would benefit from an increase to $10.10 an hour, which is 25.8% of the workforce. It would create a net 1,400 jobs and have a positive GDP impact of $421 million over three years of it being implemented, according to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

McConnell was recently caught on tape decrying the policies of Democrats and promising to block proposals like the minimum wage if he was elected Majority Leader in the next session.

“We’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage [inaudible]—cost the country 500,000 new jobs; extending unemployment—that’s a great message for retirees; uh, the student loan package the other day, that’s just going to make things worse, uh. These people believe in all the wrong things,” McConnell says in the recording.

On Wednesday, McConnell told Kentucky reporters that there might be a time when he would consider raising the minimum wage, but that time is not right now.

“There are circumstances which under a better economy, raising the minimum wage might make sense. But the last thing we want to do right now is to be killing jobs,” McConnell said.

The Grimes campaign responded to McConnell’s comments bringing up the departure of his campaign manager amid a federal bribery scandal and saying McConnell will do anything to save his job in the Senate.

“Following the Senator getting caught on a secret tape selling out Kentuckians to billionaires, profiting off of coal job loss and his campaign manager resigning under a cloud of a federal criminal investigation into a bribery scandal, one thing is clear: Mitch McConnell will go to any lengths to save his own job. Mitch McConnell has broken the public’s trust after 30 years in Washington,” said Grimes’ campaign spokeswoman Charly Norton.

Increasing the minimum wage is not designed to promote overall job growth, but rather even out the wage disparity — an increase to the wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour has been found to have the same inflation-adjusted value it had in the late 1960s, according to the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or


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