Supporters of higher minimum wage pushing for issue on ballot - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Supporters of higher minimum wage pushing for issue on ballot

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By: Hannah Paczkowski
hpaczkowski@klkntv.com

$7 and a quarter is an hourly wage for thousands of Nebraskans. Now, supporters are hoping to raise it to $9 an hour. The last time it went up was 2009.

"If we just sit by and let it stay where it is today, those wages will lose some of its value due to inflation," State Senator Danielle Conrad said.

Conrad is working with Nebraskans for Better Wages to get the issue on the Nov. ballot. They need at least 83 thousand signatures within the next three weeks. Volunteers are taking petitions door-to-door trying to meet their deadline by July 3.

"If we can keep our foot on the gas pedal, then we'll definitely be able to be successful and qualify this for the ballot," Conrad said.

We spoke with Dick Clark back in February before the bill went to the legislature and was ultimately rejected. He said the raise could hurt Nebraska's businesses.

"Government intervention in market actually exacerbates in this case. It makes folks who are already the worst off, even worse off, by elimination possibilities for employment that they might have," Clark said.

Jared Rawlings worked a minimum wage job a few years ago. He said he's for the higher pay.

"I think you could benefit quite a few people and ultimately the economy," he said.

If the petition passes, the issue will be in the hands of the voters. If they approve minimum wage would work its way up to $9 an hour within two years.

"For every dollar that we increase the state minimum wage, that puts an additional $2800 per family, per year, right back in the local economy," Conrad said.

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