Nebraska Chamber: Worker shortage increases worker pay, no need for government-imposed minimum

Advocates for a higher minimum wage in Nebraska want the question to go before voters in 2022, but the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce is among the opponents of the proposal.

Supporters of the initiative, including some state senators, want an increase in the minimum wage from the current $9 an hour to $15 an hour.

In 2014, Nebraska voters approved an initiative raising the minimum wage to $9 from $7.25 an hour.

The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce is opposed to a state-by-state minimum wage, its president Bryan Slone told The Center Square.

“The NE Chamber has opposed creating a patchwork quilt of state minimum wage rules in the 50 states, and supports a uniform federal standard,” he said.

The shortage of workers following the COVID-19 pandemic has already increased wages, Slone said.

“It is not clear whether this effort would have much of a practical impact,” Slone added.

Slone said the more important challenge is making sure Nebraska has an adequate workforce to meet the demand for jobs:

“Right now, we all need to be focused on connecting people to the thousands of tremendous job opportunities in our state and helping provide skills, experience, and training to enhance the economic opportunities of all Nebraskans,” he said.

A bill to raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour by 2032 stalled in the Nebraska legislature this year.

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