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Nevada Judge Gives Green Light To Minimum Wage Ballot Initiative

fast_food_protests.jpg

Associated Press

Restaurant workers rally on the Strip for a higher minimum wage. 

Could you imagine Nevada with a $13 minimum wage?

Whatever your take on the issue is, you’ll likely be able to vote on it in November. A state judge ruled last week in favor of allowing a ballot measure concerning minimum wage to go forward.

The Committee to Preserve Nevada Jobs, which is against the minimum wage proposal, had argued the explanation on the initiative was misleading. They also say it will hurt businesses and jobs in Nevada.

The ballot initiative would abolish Nevada’s current two-tiered rate system of $8.25 and $7.25 an hour. It would increase the minimum wage to $9.25 in 2018, and then increase it 75 cents a year until it reached $13 in 2024.

Opponents say this is something that will hurt businesses and jobs in Nevada. 

Warren Hardy with the Nevada Restaurant Association told KNPR’s State of Nevada that opponents of the ballot measure don’t necessarily have a problem with raising the minimum wage, in fact Hardy believes the federal government will raise the minimum wage with very little opposition, they have a problem with the punitive side of the ballot measure.

Hardy said the measure would require employers who violate the wage rules to pay back wages in triple. He also questions the wisdom of the minimum wage being part of the state’s constitution.

Support comes from

Bradley Schrager is with the Committee to Raise Nevada’s Minimum Wage. He said the ballot measure seeks to change the constitution simple because that is where the state’s minimum wage is enshrined.

Voters approved the two-tiered system into the constitution in 2004 and 2006. This ballot measure must also pass two votes to amend the constitution.

As for the issue over penalties, Schrager said without serious consequences there would be no disincentive to break the law.

For Schrager and the supporters of a change to the minimum wage, the wage hike is something that is long overdue.

“By the time this initiative is enacted, Nevada minimum wage workers would have gone nearly a decade without a raise,” he said, “I think that is the longest period since the minimum wage was instituted back in the 30s and 40s.”

He said people can’t live on the money they’re earning with a minimum wage job.

While Hardy agreed that it will certainly help some people, raising the minimum wage will hurt the entry level jobs that many people have counted on to get into the job market.

“So what we’re talking about when we’re talking about the minimum wage and increasing the minimum wage to such a significant level is lopping off the bottom rung of the economic ladder,” Hardy said.

His argument is if the minimum wage is increased people will be happy to stay in those jobs instead of being motivated to move to a better job.

 

Guests

Bradley Schrager, attorney, Committee to Raise the Minimum Wage in Nevada; Warren Hardy, Nevada Restaurant Association 

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