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State Sen. Jeremy Nordquist rallying the troops as Nebraskans for Better Wages prepare to hit the streets to gather 83,000 names by July 4

(Watchdog.org) The folks behind a statewide push to raise Nebraska’s minimum wage are raising some maximum bucks.

Nebraskans for Better Wages has raked in nearly $316,000 with one wealthy Nebraskan kicking in at least $250,000, according to the latest state campaign finance report.

The group needs roughly 83,000 valid signatures by July 4 to put the issue on the November ballot, when voters would be asked to up the $7.25 minimum to $8 by Jan.1, followed by a second bump to $9 on Jan. 1, 2016.

Those 83,000 names represent 7 percent of the state’s nearly 1.2 million registered voters. In addition, signatures must also be collected from 5 percent of the registered voters in 38 of the state’s 93 counties.

Drive organizers say they have hundreds of paid petitioners across the state — full and part-time petitioners earning $10.50-$12.50 an hour.

Among those backing the petition:

  • Omaha philanthropist Dick Holland: $250,000
  • Nebraska State Education Association: $25,000
  • Nebraska State AFL-CIO: $10,000
  • Nebraska State Council of Electrical Workers: $5,000
  • Nebraska State Utility Workers: $5,000

Although a move to up the minimum wage fell short this spring in the Legislature, supporters claim a January poll found 60 percent of Nebraskans favoring an increase.

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