LAS VEGAS — A constitutional amendment filed to increase Nevada’s minimum wage over the next eight years would actually hurt most of the workers it is supposed to benefit, warns Victor Joecks, executive vice president of the Nevada Policy Research Institute.
“The reason, as most small business owners know,” said Joecks, “is that, if enacted, the proposed minimum wage increase would kill jobs for teenagers, inexperienced workers and people who are re-entering the workforce.
“That’s the conclusion of the vast majority of economists of all political stripes and even federal government studies.”
Ultimately, it is the workers who get paid the least that will suffer the most from hikes in the minimum wage — with many of them losing their jobs as businesses close or turn to automation to replace entry-level jobs.
The primary value of entry-level jobs is that they allow workers to gain basic employment skills, which in turn allows them to earn higher wages in the future. Raising the minimum wage, however, makes it harder for low skill workers to get those first jobs. Having that first job is crucial, because two-thirds of minimum wage workers earn a raise within a year.
Currently, workers under 18 are exempt from Nevada’s inflated minimum wage requirements. This allows new workers to gain the experience and skills needed to increase their productivity and earn higher wages over time. This constitutional amendment, though, would remove that exemption and increase Nevada’s teenage unemployment, which currently sits at 23.6 percent.
A minimum wage increase would disproportionately hurt Nevada workers who hope to use low-paying jobs as stepping stones to better careers. Setting the minimum wage at $13 per hour is not only anti-business, but anti-worker as well.