Inbox – December 23, 2014

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Invest in Workers
Just a little metaphorical observation about the minimum wage debate: Let’s step back in time, transpose one variable and argue “But if we require that African Americans are allowed to work and must be considered in the hiring practices of our businesses, we will lose competitive advantage with our neighboring states and communities that do not require that. Businesses that don’t want to hire African Americans will move their location to those communities.” Or, “If we require that smoking not be allowed in our establishments, businesses will move their locations to places that do not face the same restrictions because their customers want to smoke.” And, “If we require that businesses must not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, they will move to neighboring states and communities that do not face the same strangle hold on the free market.” It seems to me we have heard these cries before. We have created tax incentives to help businesses locate here because we see it as an investment in our communities. Maybe we need to see investment in our workers in the same light. Pass the minimum wage and I will redouble my efforts to shop locally to support a just community that values and invests in its people.
 Terry L. Singer, Sylvan Way, 40205

Thanks, Mayor
The enemy of Louisville’s working poor now has a face: Mayor Greg Fischer!
The minimum wage should be at least 15.00 an hour but Fischer says he will veto a $10.10 an hour proposal.
Thanks, Mayor. I was hoping to be able to use the extra money to buy a car, thus becoming a bigger contributor to the local economy but you have dashed my hopes and the hopes of thousands.

This decision on your part will rest heavy on your conscience for many years to come and I, for one, will never let you live it down.
William Thompson, Highlands

A Mayor Out of Touch
This morning while driving home from work, I heard NPR play a sound bite from city mayor Greg Fisher regarding an increase in the minimum wage in Jefferson county. The mayor stated he could not support such a hike but would support one no higher than $8.70 an hour. His reasoning was the possible loss of jobs due in large part to businesses refusing to pay the higher wage.

What is important to note is Fisher said that companies would not want to pay the higher wage, not that they couldn’t. I personally think the city mayor has a very good understanding of the intent of the increase. Not that it couldn’t be done but that those who would be required to do so just don’t want to.

So then the question becomes why would a city mayor not want to ensure every one of his citizens can afford to live here? To find the answer all one has to do is look back at an interview Fisher gave NPR prior to his reelection where he discussed affordable living downtown. Fisher’s response was there were many developments for affordable living downtown where some one could rent for as low as $1000 a month in the works.

I’m no great shakes on math but I make an average income for this area according to the latest census and $1000 a month is well above 30 percent of my income. How could a mayor see that high of rent which is too high for an average income as affordable? Simple, it seems not only is the current mayor of the city completely out of touch with the average Louisvillian, he seems to think a minimum wage worker at a hike to $8.70 an hour, could still afford to live here.

If the mayor is really worried about bringing jobs in, how about he support cutting the minimum wage in half? I mean Fisher obviously seems to think since he and his financial circle have no problems with costs of living, then certainly anyone making that low could also survive here?

I’ve had conversations with persons of financial affluence. Sadly, most truly had no understanding of how hard trying to make a living really is. Not that they did not work hard. Actually what I mean is they don’t grasp what it’s like to try and make $200 cover $400 worth of bills and that wouldn’t be including any perks like eating out or new clothes or, many times, buying much food.

Isn’t it time we as a city and as a people on whole started electing officials that actually understand what the word “broke” means? (It means, you pay LG&E or you pay rent and in both cases you don’t eat.)

When was the last time an elected official actually stood up and said, “Will this make some companies and businesses angry? Yeah. But is it the right thing to do?”

Maybe it’s been way too long since either of those things has happened.
S.Willis 40203