Nebraska Lawmakers To Debate $2 Minimum Wage Increase

OMAHA (KPTM)- Some Nebraska state senators are pushing for a two-dollar minimum wage increase for the 2014-year.

Neb. State Senator Jeremy Nordquist is spearheading the bill. It would raise the current minimum wage from $7.25/hr to $9/hr.

Creighton Economy Professor Ernie Goss said increasing minimum wage can decrease employment. "There will be job losses, there is no doubt about that," said Goss.

"A small business owner is not able to deduct so much as a big business owner," said Gerda Bailey. Bailey has owned 'Gerda's German Restaurant and Bakery' for 37 years.

"I like to work," said Bailey.

Bailey said if the state were to increase minimum wage, she'd also have to increase her prices-something she doesn't want to do. "I'll have to up my prices," said Bailey.

Goss said that if minimum wage is increased, employers would either raise prices, cut jobs, and/or decrease profits.

"The problem that we have right now in the system is that it increases in lumps," said Goss.

Over the last ten years, minimum wage has increased 29 percent, from $5.15 in 2003 to $7.25 in 2013.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3.8 million people earn minimum wage; half of those people are under the age of 25.

"The employment impacts are much larger for young workers, which means those would be the ones to lose their job," said Goss.

Goss said minimum wage is often a temporary salary that teenagers and young people earn. "We're now at unemployment rate nationally of 7.4 percent, so raising minimum wage is not going to help that unemployment jobless rate," said Goss.

Goss said the best way to increase minimum wage is to do in bit by bit. "The problems that we have right now in the system is that it increases in lumps."

"It (minimum wage) went up slowly, so my price increase went up slowly too," said Bailey.

So, more pay for some could mean no pay for others. The question now, is a higher minimum wage worth the price?

"I'm not young anymore, but I just think I'm going to work until I'm 90," said Bailey, with a smile.