Living Wage Debate

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Under a plan moving through the Lincoln City Council all businesses with city contractors would have to pay their employees a living wage.

Nebraska Appleseed Center is pushing the plan saying it is the right thing to do for low wage workers. Adding that it will also put taxpayer money to good use.

“It cost less taxpayer dollars to put people at living wage employment rather than keeping them at minimum wage and dependent on public assistance,” said Danielle Nantkes.

The plan would apply to all businesses that receive $25,000 or more in city financial assistance. They must also have at least 10 employees.

A living wage is $8.85. If the business doesn’t provide health care the wage goes up to $9.73.

The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce opposes the plan. They believe more business regulation will deter companies from moving to the city. They add that they already have an economic plan in place to combat poverty.

“The only way out of poverty is good training, good skills and a good job. We’re targeting companies that will bring good jobs to our community. We think this ordinance will be detrimental to this effort,” said Chamber President Jim Fram.

The City Council could vote on the proposal as early as next Monday.