Nebraska businesses clamor over minimum wage hike

Lincoln, Neb. (Cole) – Nebraskans have voted and are now seeing the effects. In January, the state’s minimum wage was raised from $9 to $10.50, with increases coming for the next three years.

Sunday, 10/11 Talk to local businesses now to see how the wage increase will affect them.

Since voters approved the initiative, the state’s minimum wage will increase by $1.50 each year through 2026, to $15 an hour.

In downtown Lincoln, Novel Idea Bookstore has seen several minimum wage increases in their 31 years of business.

“We haven’t had one since 2016,” said Cinnamon Dokken, owner of A Novel Idea bookstore. “And you know, we want to raise our wages, we want to pay above the minimum wage. A way for us to do that is if working people have money, in a consumer economy, you know, the incomes go up, and we can support the raises that we want to give them.

Dokken said the increase not only affected her employees’ paychecks, but also affected her business.

“Employees spend money when they have money, and our rates don’t need to go up,” says Dokken. “If we have more sales, which has happened repeatedly, we expect to sell more books. We’re seeing a good start in January.”

Raise Nebraska’s wage hike would affect 150,000 Nebraskans, but there was some skepticism about the initiative, with opponents saying there were pros and cons.

There were some concerns about how the wage increase would affect the number of workers and how many hours workers could work with employers paying more.

Nebraska Appleseed, which broke away from the coalition to gain momentum at the polls, said the increase was critical to keeping up with the rising cost of living.

“The whole point of raising the minimum wage is to make sure that wages go up when things become more expensive, like child care and medicine and food and housing,” said Ken Smith of Nebraska Appleseed.

The dock agrees.

“You put money in the hands of workers, they spend money, they support local businesses, a rising tide lifts all boats,” Dokken said.

Nebraska Appleseed said once the initiative expires in 2026, Nebraska’s workforce will continue to adjust wages based on inflation.

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