Governor Visits LA to Sign California Minimum Wage Bill
Gov. Jerry Brown was in Los Angeles Monday [April 4, 2016] to sign legislation that will raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. The governor signed SB 3 during a morning ceremony at the Ronald Reagan State Building in downtown Los Angeles. The state Assembly and Senate both approved the legislation Thursday, despite opposition from Republicans and business leaders.
"California is proving once again that it can get things done and help people get ahead," Brown said last week. "This plan raises the minimum wage in a careful and responsible way and provides some flexibility if economic and budgetary conditions change."
Under the legislation, California's $10-an-hour minimum wage will increase to $10.50 in January 2017, then to $11 on Jan. 1, 2018. The minimum wage will then go up by a dollar in each of the following years until it reaches $15 in 2022, after which it will continue to rise each year by up to 3.5 percent to account for inflation.
Businesses with 25 or fewer employees get an extra year to raise their wage, so that workers will be paid $15 by 2023.
The plan also gives the governor the ability to temporarily halt the raises if there is a forecasted budget deficit of more than one percent of annual revenue, or due to poor economic conditions such as declines in jobs and retail sales.
Government workers who provide in-home health services will receive an additional three paid sick days under the plan.
The wage hike will affect 5.6 million workers, or about one-third of the statewide workforce, officials said.
The proposal is similar, although slightly slower, than an already- approved increased [Sic.] in the city of Los Angeles minimum wage. Under the city ordinance, the minimum wage will increase to $10.50 on July 1 and eventually reach $15 per hour in 2020, with future increases pegged to the Consumer Price Index. The same wage hike schedule was also adopted for the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.
Other California cities have also enacted wage increases, some even earlier than Los Angeles. San Jose's wage rose to $10.30 per hour in Jan. 1, 2015, and is set to continue climbing depending on the CPI. San Francisco's minimum hourly wage, now at $12.25, will go up to $13 on July 1 and to $15 in 2018, followed by further increases based on CPI, under a measure approved by that city's voters in 2014.
Republicans and business leaders opposed the statewide minimum-wage hike, arguing it will lead to businesses reducing the size of their work force or increasing prices to cover the costs of the increased wages.
"This bill will add to the challenges that include recent Affordable Care Act mandates, recent minimum wage increases, new mandatory paid sick leave and increases in workers' compensation," Assemblyman Bill Brough, R-Dana Point, said. "Small business workers' compensation is based on payroll. As payroll increases so does workers' comp. This isn't even considering local permits and other regulatory agencies small businesses have to comply with."
But supporters, primarily Democrats, rallied behind the proposal, saying workers earning minimum wage should be able to pay for basic necessities.
"Wages are not keeping pace with the cost of living in California. Income inequality continues to grow," said Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego. "This proposal will help millions of hard-working Californians while protecting taxpayers and small businesses if the economy experiences a downturn. We can be prudent and make sure workers are paid a reasonable, livable wage at the same time. It doesn't have to be a choice."
- CMSA Communicator