Nevada Appeal – February 15, 2017

It was dueling statistics Wednesday as backers and opponents of raising the minimum wage debated the merits of a bill that would step that wage up to $15 an hour over the next few years.

Sponsor William McCurdy II, D-Las Vegas, told the Commerce and Labor Committee AB175 would reduce employee turnover, increase productivity and provide workers with a living wage. He and Paul Sonn, general counsel for the Employee Wage Project, said statistics show that concerns raising the wage would cost thousands of jobs and put businesses out of work are wrong and haven’t shown up in cities that have raised minimum wages, including Seattle and San Francisco.

But opponents from a number of business organizations and the state’s two major chambers of commerce said there are provable job losses in those cities. And a number of businessmen turned out to say they simply can’t afford to pay more than the $7.25 an hour current minimum wage in Nevada.

The bill would raise the minimum wage $1.25 an hour each year until it hits $15 an hour — $14 an hour for those businesses that provide health benefits to workers. After that, the wage would be indexed to inflation.

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