A few state senators are pushing to raise the state minimum wage by nearly two dollars an hour over the next three years.
Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha proposes the current state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour be raised to $9 an hour over three years.
“The bill we put forward is roughly about a 7% a year increase for three years to get us to $9 an hour,” Nordquist tells reporters during a Capitol news conference. “I talked to a number of small businesses in my district who thought that was something they could absorb.”
Nordquist says too many Nebraskans have been left behind by a changing economy.
His bill, LB 943, would raise the state minimum wage to $7.65 an hour in 2015, $8.35 an hour in 2016, and $9 an hour in 2017.
Sen. Danielle Conrad of Lincoln insists it’s not that big a hike.
“But, to be clear, $9 an hour, $10 an hour, we know from the self-sufficiency standard and other ways to evaluate poverty that this is a very modest proposal in trying to achieve that policy objective,” Conrad says.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]
AUDIO: News conference on bill to raise the minimum wage. [14:15]