Minimum wage petition drive still cashing in and out
Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog
Make that an even $400,000.
That’s how much Omaha philanthropist Dick Holland has kicked-in to raise the minimum wage in Nebraska, according to the latest state campaign records.
Holland’s most recent contribution of $50,000 coming just days before a statewide petition drive faced a critical July 3 deadline—he had made two earlier contributions of $250,000 on May 15 and $100,000 on June 6.
All told Nebraskans for Better Wages has raised $833,866— nearly half from Holland—spending all but $2,000 of that to collect 135,000 signatures. Just over 81,000 valid names are needed to put the issue on the November ballot. Several political insiders, on the left and right, tell Nebraska Watchdog not only will it make the ballot they think it will pass.
If it does, the current $7.25 minimum would jump to $8 by Jan. 1, followed by a second bump to $9 on Jan. 1, 2016.
The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, Omaha Chamber and conservative Platte Institute oppose a wage hike arguing some businesses, especially those barely making a profit, could be forced to lay-off workers.
Sen. Danielle Conrad, D-Lincoln, who helped coordinate the petition drive, said the issue is easily understood “kitchen table economics.”
Conrad was paid a $5,000 consulting fee on July 15 but according to the petition group’s report she has two “unpaid” bills totaling $51,000.
Nebraskans for Better Wages, which says it has paid its circulators anywhere from $10.50-$12.50 an hour, shelled out just over $144,000 for salaries in the drive’s final days.
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