At Nebraska’s current minimum wage, $7.25, which is also the federal minimum wage, a minimum wage worker putting in a full 40 hours per week for 52 weeks would earn $14,500 annually - an amount below the federal poverty line for families of two or more.
In 2012, 32,000 hourly workers in Nebraska earned the minimum wage, giving Nebraska the second highest percentage of workers earning at or below minimum wage compared to surrounding states. Had Nebraska’s minimum wage kept pace with inflation over the last 4 decades it would now be $10.56 per hour and full-time minimum wage workers would now earn $21,120 annually, not $14,500.
Moreover, increasingly minimum wage workers are adults and the major wage earners in families. Currently, 88 percent of America’s minimum wage workers are over the age of 20. Minimum wage workers are our friends, neighbors and family members. And they deserve a raise.
On Tuesday, November 4th, Nebraskans will cast the final votes in the 2014 election. The board and staff of the Center for Rural Affairs urge all Nebraskans, urban and rural alike, to cast their votes in favor of I-425, Nebraska ballot initiative to raise the state’s minimum wage. I urge you to remember the faces of friends and neighbors around you who work for minimum wage, and cast your vote in favor of giving them the raise that they deserve.
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