Minimum wage increase proves popular with Nebraskans

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November 5th, 2014

Lincoln, NE – Six out of ten Nebraskans supported Initiative 425.

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No organized group launched an opposing campaign, leaving nearly all the campaigning and advertising to the proponents organized by the group that originally circulated petitions to secure a place on the November ballot.

Co-organizer of Nebraskans for Better Wages, Danielle Conrad, was not surprised the initiative won even as conservatives swept most of the major offices in the statehouse.

Danielle Conrad of Nebraskans for Better Wages delivers petitions. (Courtesy of Appleseed Center)

Danielle Conrad of Nebraskans for Better Wages delivers petitions. (Courtesy of Appleseed Center)

“You have always seen strong bi-partisan support for working families and for these issues,” Conrad said. “That was evident in this election tonight.”

The two-stage law will take effect at the beginning of 2015. Workers earning the $7.25 minimum wage get a 75-cent-an-hour raise. In 2016 the wage will increase again to $9.00 an hour. While some opponents of the wage increase predict job losses from businesses compensating for the higher costs, Conrad does not expect any negative impact to Nebraska’s economy.

“There will continue to be careful evaluation of this initiative in terms of how it is implemented and what the results are,” Conrad said. “We are very hopeful they will be positive results.”

Nebraska’s wage increase remains lower than increases implemented by other states and local governments in the past year. Recently, President Obama signed an executive order boosting the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 an hour.

If other states hold the line and remain with the federal minimum, Nebraska will have the highest minimum wage rate in the Great Plains region.

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