Though the minimum wage debate hasn’t been in the headlines recently, that changed in the wake of Tuesday’s vote, as Nevada raised its minimum wage to $12 per hour, the Washington Examiner reported.
The vote to raise the amount came via Question 2 on the 2022 ballot, which garnered enough support to hike the wage to $12 from $9.50.
The Examiner added: “Question 2 also scraps Nevada’s tiered system of minimum wage that is based on other benefits workers receive and does away with a law marrying minimum wage increases to annual inflation growth.”
However, an interesting provision in the newly-passed law states that the state’s minimum wage will match the federal wage, should Congress ever vote to raise it.
Perhaps the most notable data to surface after the law passed is the fact that a vast majority — almost everyone — in the state were already making above $9.50 per hour (minimum wage is $10.50 per hour if an employer doesn’t offer benefits).
Only 0.9% of Nevada workers made less than the state’s previous minimum wage.
NBC News projects: Nevada Question 2: Increase Minimum Wage has been approved.
Nevadans just voted to add a state constitutional amendment to increase the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2024.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 11, 2022
Some workers complained, though, that the so-called benefits offered to workers as a way to pay $1 per hour less was nothing more than a joke on paper.
“We have heard story after story where businesses are able to pay $1 less than the current minimum wage in the state simply because they offer unaffordable, garbage healthcare plans that employees rarely opt into because of cost,” said Annette Magnus of Battle Born Progress, an advocacy group.
The argument against jacking up the minimum wage is still more relevant than ever, if not particularly relevant in the current economic climate. The higher wage floor means already struggling small business owners will likely need to raise existing wages.
That raise could certainly cause problems for small businesses that have already been battered financially by the Biden administration and could hypothetically lead to closings, which would then begin to eliminate jobs, making the whole effort seem extremely counter-productive.
Only time will tell if Nevada’s new minimum wage will wreak havoc on the state’s thousands of small businesses.