LINCOLN, Neb. -- A central Nebraska lawmaker is looking to set up a system that allows automatic adjustments of the state's minimum wage.
Sen. Dan Quick introduced LB383, which would allow the State Treasurer would adjust the minimum wage each year to reflect the average annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for the most recent I've-year period.
“I have experience working with employers to adjust wages using the Consumer Price Index, and I think it’s the best way to keep up with the cost of living for our state minimum wage,” Quick said. “If we adjust the minimum wage to keep up with inflation each year, we’ll make smaller adjustments that won’t be as painful for businesses instead of having to make big adjustments every few years. In fact, under this bill the changes would be automatic and we wouldn’t have to address the minimum wage again, and it would automatically keep up with the cost of living.”
Quick said the CPI is already used to adjust Social Security payments and to automatically provide cost-of- living wage adjustments to millions of workers and military and Federal Civil Service retirees.
He said rather than having a dramatic increase in minimum wage every few years as a result of a ballot initiative, his proposal will allow for a gradual increase that is tied more closely to the cost of living.
Organizations like Kearney Works, which help residents find jobs, thinks the proposed bill has its pros and cons.
Stan Zimbelman, Executive Director of Kearney Works said that although this bill will be helpful to lower wage workers, he said that it could have an adverse effect on business owners.
"It's possible that would work, it would at least keep the minimum wage moving up on a regular basis, but it also may cause some employers some heartburn because they would have to adjust their wage scales every year," Zimbelman said." As I understand this is going to be reviewed annually and then wages would be increased on an annual basis... that could cause some bookkeeping nightmares."