Nevada senate Democrats announced their minimum wage bill, SB106, Tuesday, and at least no can accuse them of overreaching.
The bill would raise the wage 75 cents a year for five years, topping out at $12 an hour in 2022 – $11 an hour if employers offer a health care plan (and under a court ruling earlier this year, those plans can be garbage).
Falling short of the $15 in the Fight for 15 isn’t particularly surprising. Seattle, California, New York and the District of Columbia are on track to achieve a $15 wage. But most of the many states and local governments that raised the wage recently have settled on a smaller number.
That said, voters in Arizona already raised the wage to $10. It will top out at $12 in 2020, and then rise with cost of living allowances after that.
Would Nevada Democrats have us believe that Nevada voters are less progressive than their neighbors in the red state across the river? Or just not worth as much?
The Gleaner is nothing if not the home of bright-eyed optimism. So let’s say, best-case scenario, Gov. Brian Sandoval has already determined he’s willing to sign – and not veto – a wage increase, maybe one that after five years isn’t that much smaller than $12. Yay.
Then again, maybe if Democrats had sought something higher – $13 or even $14 – and still had to settle for less than $12 to avoid a veto, Democrats would be able to tell voters in 2018 that they had tried to secure a much bigger minimum wage increase but the Republican governor would not allow it, so that’s why it’s important to elect a Democratic governor.
That argument mightn’t have as much oomph when the Democratic ask is so modest to begin with.
In any case, one thing is certain. By opening the negotiations at $12 by 2022, Ford and the Democrats have assured that the absolute slam-dunk best thing Nevada workers will get is less than Arizona workers will be getting.