NPR Story
1:59 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Louisville Mayor 'Not Opposed' To Minimum Wage Increase

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is wrapping up its annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. The annual conference covers urban policies ranging including climate change, education, same-sex marriage, inequality and economic growth.

Raising the minimum wage was much discussed, because Seattle recently raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville, Kentucky, tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that he “would support” a gradual increase in the minimum wage, but doing so “has not been a big topic of conversation in our city.”

Interview Highlights: Greg Fischer

On becoming the first mayor of a large city in Kentucky to sign on to the Conference of Mayor’s group in support of same-sex marriage

“To me its a real straight forward discrimination issue. So anything that discriminates against people, I want to speak out about. That’s the moral reason. Secondarily, any city that is on the move with job growth needs to be very clear that there would be no discrimination in the city. So I felt now was the right time to do it, and proud to do so.”

On the biggest challenge facing his city this year

“There’s a lot of inequality in terms of education in the country and our city is the same way. We’ve got some of the greatest performing schools in the country and some that are challenged at the same time. We want to start focusing on education earlier in life, as well, so that when kids get to kindergarten they are ready to learn. Right now there is a big gap between the kids that are advantaged and those that are at risk. Almost every problem comes back to education, so we’re constantly focused on that.”

On an increase in the minimum wage for Louisville

“I’m a business guy that just happens to be mayor. When I talk to businesses around our city, if you are paying the minimum wage you can’t keep people employed. So the market is working in a certain extent in that area but I’m not opposed to minimum wage increases. Obviously there hasn’t been any significant increase in decades in that. Frankly, it has not been a topic of conversation in our city. I would be supportive, however, if it was.”

Guest

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