July 25, 2014

Effort to increase Nebraska’s minimum wage

Two Nebraska state senators are leading an effort to increase the minimum wage. Several organizations are behind the group Nebraskans For Better Wages and they plan on gathering signatures to put a measure on the November ballot that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $9 by 2016.

Senator Danielle Conrad of Lincoln says increasing the minimum wage is a benefit to everyone. Senator Conrad says, “Each dollar we increase the minimum wage increases consumer spending by that family by about $3,500 a year so that helps everybody.

Opponents say increasing the minimum wage will increase prices on goods and services and force employers to lay off workers. Senator Conrad says that has not been seen in states that have already increased the minimum wage. She says, “Rather they have been able to secure a benefit of increased productivity and retention that comes with paying better wages.”

Senator Conrad says because the federal government isn’t taking action many states are. She says more than 20 states have moved to increase the minimum wage and she will support the effort in Nebraska. Omaha State Senator Jeremy Nordquist also backs the effort.

The Nebraska Legislature addressed increasing the minimum wage in this year’s session. The proposal was defeated.