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By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams, Nov 9, 2022

Nebraskans voted Tuesday to incrementally raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026 as corporate price hikes continue to eat into workers' paychecks and the federal wage floor remains stuck at a paltry $7.25. The ballot measure, known as Initiative 433, succeeded by a vote of 58.2% to 41.8% despite opposition from influential corporate lobbying groups in the state, including the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce. ...

While some Nebraska business organizations campaigned against Initiative 433—trotting out the well-worn and debunked argument that a minimum wage hike would come at the expense of jobs—more than 300 small business owners in the state publicly endorsed the ballot measure.

"Voters did the right thing for workers and businesses in passing Initiative 433," said Steph Terry, director of operations, Morrow Collision Center in Lincoln. "We know from experience that fair pay drives hiring, employee retention, and the excellent service our customers count on. Raising the minimum wage will help our state build a stronger workforce and economy."

Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, said in a statement Wednesday that "minimum wage increases don't stay in workers' pockets."

"They go right back into communities as workers and their families have more to spend at local businesses," said Sklar. "Now Congress needs to get the message and raise the abysmal $7.25 federal minimum wage." ...

The raise that Nebraska's minimum wage workers will see in 2023 will be the first since 2016, when the state minimum wage rose from $8 an hour to $9.

"Local businesses like mine depend on local spending," said Cinnamon Dokken, the owner of A Novel Idea Bookstore in Lincoln. "The last time Nebraska increased the minimum wage, our revenues grew and we raised our wages. We look forward to that again with the passage of Initiative 433. Raising the minimum wage will put more money in workers' pockets and foster the better job performance that is vital for small business competitiveness." ...

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