Bill would give California among highest minimum wages
President Barack Obama has sought an increase of the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. San Francisco currently has the nation’s highest minimum wage at $10.50 an hour.
California’s minimum wage would increase to $9 an hour next July 1 and to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016. The bill does not index the rate to inflation, however, meaning it would remain at $10 per hour unless the Legislature raises it again in the future.
Washington and other states that index minimum wage rate hikes to inflation each year would, over time, outpace California’s rate unless the state made an adjustment.
A $10 minimum wage would increase earnings for a projected 2 million Californians by $4,000 a year and put $2.6 billion into the economy, Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, estimated in a statement supporting the increase.
Opponents say businesses would suffer because owners also face voter-approved increases in sales and income taxes, and because of the uncertain costs of the federal Affordable Care Act.
Businesses are likely to cut jobs, increase consumer prices or both, they argue, citing a study by the National Federation of Independent Business. The group projects that mean the loss of between 46,000 and 68,000 jobs by 2023, depending on other factors including inflation.
Associated Press writer Laura Olson contributed to this report.