There may be some good news on the horizon for Nevada’s struggling families. District Judge James Wilson rejected challenges to the proposed constitutional amendment to increase Nevada’s minimum wage from $8.25 (without health insurance) to $13 over the next eight years.
The proposal still needs to be approved by Nevada voters and may face stiff opposition from some powerful, well-funded interest groups and businesses. But if enacted, it will put more money into the pockets of working people and families who are struggling to make ends meet.
The increase wouldn’t begin until 2018 and would go up to just $9.25. From there, add 75 cents per year until it reaches $13 in 2024.
Is it enough? Hardly.
By 2024, $13 an hour will hardly bring people out of poverty. In fact, research shows that many living in poverty already make well above the minimum wage. Because of this, one of the arguments circulating is that a minimum wage hike won’t help many living in poverty and will surely hurt job creation. This also is a misnomer.
The scholar whose paper is getting so much attention, David Neumark, points out that in more than half of all families living in poverty, no one works. Of those who do work, a healthy percentage make more than the proposed increases and, therefore, would not benefit. But Mr. Neumark is not necessarily arguing against a minimum wage increase, but that the earned income tax credit along with the increase would have the best possible chance of lifting families out of poverty:
“The earned income tax credit targets low-income families much better, increases employment and reduces poverty, and for all these reasons seems far more effective,” he wrote. “Policymakers are likely to do a better job fighting poverty by making the EITC more generous than by raising the minimum wage. Furthermore, using both of these policies together is more effective than minimum wage increases in isolation.”
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