City minimum wage discussions continue

untitled-(9-of-10)Citizens studying a city minimum wage hike on Monday talked of exemptions and timing.

A proposed city ordinance would raise it to $15 an hour by 2020, with a raise to $9 this year.

That is in line with a nationwide push to $15, and Los Angeles recently became the latest city to do it.

In Kansas City, the mayor has suggested $13 may be more reasonable. He called on business leaders and advocates to meet to try to shape a compromise.

A small group of them are to meet every Monday until July 13, three days before the council plans to vote on the increase.

Business leaders suggested Monday that an increase to $9 this year would bust the yearly budgets of businesses citywide.

They also suggested the increase not apply to younger workers, as it does not in Seattle.

They suggested making age 26 the breaking point, the same age that the Affordable Care Act sets for allowing many children to stay on parents’ health insurance.

Advocates of the higher minimum wage said Monday they would agree to many exemptions that are already in state law.

Those include people who work for the state, those working for charitable, educational or non-profit groups, apprentices, interns working at places like schools and colleges, and those who work in court ordered community service.

Business leaders also asked about part-time employees, seasonal employees and those who make much of their income from tips.

One read a letter to James from the manager at Worlds of Fun.

It said 68 percent of their employees are 14 to 17 years old and work seven months a year or less.

Apply the minimum wage to them and those like them, he argued, and far fewer Kansas City youth will get summer jobs.

Facilitator Allan Katz, a UMKC professor, told each side to come back next Monday prepared to talk more about all those issues.

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