Minimum wage increase may go on the ballot this fall

NE_Appleseed_Icons_Business-128A bill to raise Nebraska’s minimum wage to $9 per hour (LB 943) failed to pass in the Legislature this session, but its introducer, State Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, is hoping to take the issue straight to Nebraska voters.

Yesterday, Sen. Nordquist told the Omaha World-Herald he is attempting to gather signatures for a ballot initiative to raise Nebraska’s minimum wage from its current rate of $7.25 per hour.  About 80,000 signatures are needed by early July to get the measure on the ballot for this November’s elections.

The numbers are clear. Hard work just isn’t paying like it used to for Nebraskans.  Our state has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, but among surrounding states Nebraska has the second-highest percentage of employees making minimum wage.

Read Appleseed’s fact sheet “The Benefits to Nebraska of Raising the Minimum Wage

If Nebraska’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour would have kept pace with inflation over the last 40 years, the wage would be $10.56 per hour.  A worker who works full-time on the minimum wage (40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year) makes just more than $15,000 in a year.  That’s below the federal poverty line for a family with two or more people.

Not Just for Kids. In 2011, 88% of minimum-wage earners were over age 20.

Raising the minimum wage is an important step to rebuild our middle class, boost our economy, and reduce poverty among Nebraska’s hard-working families. Appleseed strongly supports making hard work pay in Nebraska.

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