Curtis wants to exempt small businesses from minimum wage increase, says more information needed on right to work

Independent candidate Drew Curtis wants to see wages increased but would exempt small businesses and is open to the idea of right-to-work legislation but wants to see more details.

In an interview with the Kentucky Chamber, Curtis said he believes a minimum wage increase with a small business exception could work because he feels those are the people who could be forced to close their doors because of the change unlike some of the bigger chains he feels can pay a higher wage.

As for how he would define a small business when pushing for this type of proposal, Curtis noted that there are a lot of ways a small business is defined and the state would have to choose one after looking over the options and go with it.

“The reason why you would want to raise the minimum wage is because this gets spent out instantly back into the economy. Every dollar that goes up, goes right back in. The problem with it is that there is a 30-60 day delay between when that money hits the pocket books of the people who will spend it and when it gets spent out,” Curtis said (starting at 8:30). “The reason why you’d want to carve out small businesses is a bar that employs six people, it is too risky for them to continue to try and employ somebody after a minimum wage hike because they don’t know if they’re going to be able to hit that.”

Using the example of his time as a Kroger employee, Curtis said he was making less than minimum wage once the union dues were taken out of his paycheck and went on to explain some of the issues he has with unions (discussion starting at 11:00).

However, Curtis said he is not ready to commit to supporting right-to-work at this point, stating that he would like to see more evidence that the legislation truly creates jobs. (Discussion at 11:00). But Curtis did say that as these local communities continue to pass right-to-work and if it is proven to work, then he would be open to statewide implementation.

“What if Warren County passes this thing, which they did, and low and behold…oh, never mind, for whatever reason in Kentucky we can prove this is effective. Well, alright, then game on. So that is where I’m at on this. I am not anti-it because I am against the concept, I just don’t believe that it is an effective way of growing jobs,” Curtis said.

Watch the interview segment below:

On some other competitiveness issues, Curtis said he supports public-private partnerships (P3) as long as the specifics of the project meet criteria (at the start of video above). Additionally, the independent candidate said it could be a good way to build infrastructure projects in the state.

As for the disagreement over the issue based on the idea of tolling the Brent Spence bridge project, Curtis said the area is going to have to come to an agreement on the topic and that tolls are likely going to have to be part of the solution. Curtis offered some ideas he has to ease the pain of tolls on Kentuckians (discussion starting at 2:30).

Local option sales tax legislation (LIFT), a piece of legislation that would allow local communities to raise their sales tax by a small amount to finance a project voted on by the residents of that community, is also something Curtis said he could support in most cases.

“If a local community decides they want to pay more tax for a local thing, they should be able to do it,” Curtis said (at 6:30).

The Kentucky Chamber has also interviewed Republican candidate Matt Bevin on similar issues. An interview segment with Democratic candidate Jack Conway on public-private partnerships (P3) and local option sales tax will be posted on Bottom Line this week.

Categories: 2015 Governors race, Kentucky Competitiveness

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