The Holland Children's Movement was proud to be part of the Nebraskans for Better Wages coalition that successfully passed a ballot measure to raise the minimum wage in Nebraska to $9.00 per hour by 2016. The Holland Children’s Movement will continue to advocate for public policies in Nebraska that will have positive impacts on children in low income families.
It was critical to raise the minimum wage in 2014. The minimum wage of $7.25 per hour provided only $290 of income per week for a full time employee - $4,700 below the poverty level for a parent with two children. We have seen Nebraska working families fall further behind each year and it is the children that pay the greatest price in lost opportunities and healthy productive development.
The disadvantages for children in low wage families begin at birth and even before birth and continue throughout their early life and school years. In Nebraska, 41% of our birth to 5 populations is considered at-risk for success in school and life based on the low income of their families. We currently have 142,386 children receiving free and reduced lunch at school due to low family income. The free lunch program serves 79% of these children from the lowest income families earning less than $25,289 for a family of three.
With the passage of Initiative 425, increasing the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour will increase the income of working families and provide much needed security and economic stability to nearly 100,000 Nebraskans.