Voters get to decide minimum wage hike in November

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Posted: Aug 15, 2014 4:46 PM
Voters get to decide minimum wage hike in November

Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

It’s not surprising but it is official: Spend nearly a million dollars and you too can have a successful petition drive in Nebraska.

Paid petitioners paved the way for a successful push to place the minimum wage debate on the November ballot.

Paid petitioners paved the way for a successful push to place the minimum wage debate on the November ballot.

Secretary of State John Gale announced (today) Friday that a petition drive to raise the minimum wage has more than enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.

Needing at least 80,386 valid signatures, Nebraskans for Better Wages rolled up 89,817 verified names, according to Gale.

At least five percent of those who signed had to come from 38 of the state’s 93 counties.

All in all it was “more than enough to meet the threshold,” says Gale.

As Nebraska Watchdog has reported, the petition group has raised at least $833,866 — nearly half ($400,000) from Omaha philanthropist Dick Holland —and spent all but $2,000 of that to collect 135,000 names. Several political insiders, on the left and right, tell Nebraska Watchdog they think it will pass.

IMG_6290If it does, the current $7.25 minimum would jump to $8 by Jan. 1, followed by a second bump to $9 on Jan. 1, 2016.

The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, Omaha Chamber and conservative Platte Institute oppose a wage hike, arguing some businesses, especially those barely making a profit, could be forced to lay off workers.

Sen. Danielle Conrad, D-Lincoln, who helped coordinate the petition drive, said the issue is easily understood “kitchen table economics.”

Contact Joe Jordan at joe@nebraskawatchdog.org.

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Joe can be heard on Omaha’s KFAB radio every Monday at 7:40 a.m. and KHAS-AM in Hastings every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.

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