Recently a measure in Nevada has been making waves with a proposal to raise the minimum wage of the state to $15 an hour. Senator Tick Segerblom is sponsoring SJR 8 because he, like many, believe the current minimum wage to be too low to be considered a livable wage.
Opposition for the bill claim it will increase consumer prices and cost companies jobs, because the companies will not be able to afford to keep on workers at the heightened minimum wage. Critics of the bill also believe it will lessen the availability of entry-level jobs in Nevada.
While it is possible that these critics have a point, it is important to look at what benefits could come from the raise in Nevada’s minimum wage. The largest backing point behind the raise of the wage to $15 an hour is to lessen the grip of poverty on those who would be affected by it. By giving all workers, including unskilled laborers such as those who work in the fast food industry a boost in wages, it will reduce the amount of people who require Nevada’s government assistance.
Should the minimum wage be increased to $15 an hour it is believed that those working a 40 hour per week job will be able to earn a livable income, on top of being able to stimulate the economy.
Currently the minimum wage in Nevada is set at 8.25 an hour if the company does not provide health insurance. If the company does include health insurance then the starting wage is 7.25 an hour, which is still a dollar more than the set federal minimum wage. Nevada joins states Oregon and Washington as having above the federal minimum wage.
Recently, Washington State passed a bill to increase the state’s minimum wage to $10 an hour. This will happen over the course of the next four years, with $.50 wage increases each year until the $10 an hour minimum wage is met. Maybe legislators for this $15 an hour minimum wage in Nevada are aiming their sights too high. Going from $8.25 to $15 an hour is close to doubling Nevada’s minimum wage.
The point in raising the minimum wage is that people are currently relying heavily on Nevada’s government assistance. By giving them a livable wage, it allows workers to pay their way in life rather than relying on programs such as food stamps and cash assistance. Give the people a higher wage and it boosts their ability to pay for things themselves, without the help of assistance.
One of the concerns about raising the minimum wage is increasing the wages of workers across the board to adjust to the minimum wage hike. Should this wage increase happen, it is estimated that in Las Vegas alone, there will be an increase of $5 million in additional annual wage costs. While some legislators doubt the benefit of raising Nevada’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, it would certainly be an incentive for bringing in and keeping a higher population. With Tony Hsieh’s brainchild, the “Downtown Project” well under way, Las Vegas seems a good place to get in on the ground floor of new businesses.
Las Vegas Nevada has been one of the biggest tourism cities in the U.S. for decades. Casinos, sporting events, and an attitude of “try your luck by playing a buck” to ensnare gamblers has this city on the minds of old and young alike for a vacation destination. With a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour, workers throughout Nevada have more of a reason than ever before to put in hard hours of labor.
By Benjamin Johnson
Photo by Werner Kunz – License