The Minimum Wage recently went from S10.50 per hour to S12. It will increase by $1.50 per hour each of the next two years, and beginning in 2027, the increases will be measured by the Consumer Price Index. This was an initiative passed by voters in 2022.
It should not surprise anyone that the voters of Nebraska voted in favor of this. It is a common feeling that people should be paid a fair wage. The disconnect with this is that the voters do not need to understand all that goes on in delivering the products they buy every day.

The consumer always has and always will strive to find the best value in every product or service they buy. It is up to businesses to position themselves to create value. If they don’t, they will not survive. Over 50% of businesses fail in the first year. 95% of businesses are no longer around after 10 years. Our very survival depends on differentiating ourselves from our competitors. To do this, we need to attract and retain the best employees possible.

At LIBA, we strongly believe that the free enterprise system is the best reflection of supply and demand at all levels of the economy. The proposed increase in the minimum wage from $10.50 to $12 per hour is far below where most businesses in the service sector are.

Businesses compete every day to be the best alternative in the market for their target customers’ business. That includes attracting and retaining the highest caliber of people in the labor force. Customer value is driven by all levels of employees in any organization and finding the best people to deliver that customer value is critical to the survival of our members.

The Lincoln labor market has been well below effectively zero unemployment (defined as 4% by most economists) for a significant number of years. As such, for almost all service level businesses, the minimum wage is irrelevant. The market dictates a much higher rate. The stronger the economy, the lower the unemployment rate and higher the pay.

There may well be some LIBA members that are currently at $10.50 per hour. If so, they have developed strategies that drive value to their associates beyond the pay offered. Moving that rate to $12 per hour would have to get them to rethink their strategies on how they will continue to survive and hopefully thrive in this new environment.

As part of the LIBA Mission Statement, we strive to educate the public concerning the vital role that business plays in creating meaningful jobs and meeting payrolls that allow our citizens quality of life. This goes from top to bottom with all types of businesses to create the best situation, matching the best talent in the workforce to help our businesses thrive.

The Lincoln Independent Business Association is always invested in providing development and educational opportunities to their members with front-row access to leaders and decision makers in the Lincoln business community. Learn more about becoming a member and other upcoming events at You can also call the office, located at 3601 Calvert St., at (402) 466-3419.