Minimum Wage Ballot Question

By: Kara Tsuboi
By: Kara Tsuboi

One of the largest bodies of minimum wage workers in Nevada is casino employees. At the current minimum wage rate, they're pulling in less than $11,000 a year without tips. If Question 6 is passed, minimum wage workers would earn $2000 more a year.

"An extra $1 an hour is going to be money in their pockets that they'll spend in this community and enrich our whole town and whole state," says Bob Fulkerson with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. They're a partner with the Coalition to Give Nevada a Raise and were the initial sponsors of the ballot initiative.

The opposition argues that a wage boost would weaken the economy. According to voters' sample ballots, the argument states "This constitutional amendment would actually increase poverty in Nevada, rather than fight it. Suffering the most would be single mothers with little education, and other unskilled workers who are just entering the job market." That's because they say employers will not be able to afford as many workers and pay for their training.

Proponents disagree.

"You look at the twelve states that have a higher minimum wage than the national average. In 8 of the 12 states, job growth, economic growth in those states has been higher than the national average. So the idea that this hurts the economy does not wash with historical experience," says Fulkerson.

Question 6 also includes a provision that makes employers who provide health care exempt from the dollar increase.

Question 6 will have to be passed this November and again in 2006 in order to be written into law. It would then take effect in 2007.


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