Last year I posted these thoughts about minimum wage in Kentucky. As a musician who makes her living as a business owner and an independent artist/contractor, I don't often deal in per hour metrics personally, but most of us have worked an hourly job at some point in our lives, and it's good to really think about this issue, especially with the new governor.
In Kentucky, a person goes out, gets a job that pays minimum wage – $7.25/hour, and works at a company that chooses to classify them as part-time so the company does not have to provide benefits. For demonstration purposes, let’s choose a generous weekly number of hours like 40, what most of us have come to view as a standard full time work week. Here’s the thing: Kentucky is a state that does not require employers to adhere to a quantified definition of full-time employment, so this person gets paid a gross check of $290. That’s gross, by several definitions, but the really gross thing is that’s not what the net check will be; after the common deductions are taken out, that check will be significantly diminished.
$7.25 an hour, for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, comes to…
After 15% federal taxes are deducted, the amount becomes $12,818.00. (15% on 15,080 is $2,262.)
After 5.8% Kentucky taxes are deducted (from the original 15,080 amount), the new annual wage total becomes $11,943.36.(5.8% on 15,080 is $874.64.)
There are other deductions, but it’s been so long since I’ve had a regular corporate paycheck I can’t remember them all – let’s take an annual “Angie’s rough guess” deduction of $500.36 more, for a total net annual paycheck of:
$11,443.00. (That 36 cents was bugging me…)
Let’s say you can rent an apartment for $500 a month. The annual cost would be $6,000.
Let’s say you can live off of $100 a month for groceries. The annual cost would be $1,200.
Let’s say your electric utility bill runs an average of $100 a month. The annual cost would be $1,200.
Let’s say you already have a car, and you don’t drive much so you fill up twice a month at about $80 a month. The annual cost would be $960. (If you don’t have a car and you live in Jefferson County, you could purchase a monthly TARC pass for $50 per month – but I’ve deprived this poor person of many things already, so let’s give him/her a car…)
Let’s say your water bill runs about $50 every two months – annual cost: $300
Since this person makes so little, he/she is eligible for Medicaid, so there’s no cost for health care.
At least not this year, while the current laws are in place.
Right there – that leaves you with $1,783 for the whole year ($148.58 a month) for everything else – non grocery essentials, maintenance on the car, clothes, internet, cell phone, hair cuts, entertainment.
And the main numbers above are for the most frugal of human beings.
How many of us average $100 a month on our LGE bill?
How many of us pay $100 a month for groceries?
How many of us have a $500 a month mortgage or rent payment?
How many of us in Kentucky want our legislative representatives to raise the minimum wage?
A better question: how can we NOT push our legislative representatives to raise the minimum wage?
What legislative representative with any kind of human decency would NOT be in favor of raising the minimum wage?
Here’s the government website link that specifies Kentucky’s lack of a definition of full time employment – it’s FAQ #4: