Workers, of course, are very pleased about this:Gov. Jerry Brown this morning signed legislation to raise California's minimum wage by 25 percent, from $8 an hour to $10 an hour by 2016.
The bill, celebrated by Brown and his labor union allies at an event in Los Angeles, promises the first increase in California's hourly minimum since 2008, when the minimum wage was raised 50 cents to $8.
After appearing in the state's biggest media market this morning, the Democratic governor is scheduled to fly to Oakland to promote the bill at a second event this afternoon.
Assembly Bill 10, by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, will raise the minimum wage from $8 to $9 an hour on July 1, 2014, and to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016. - The Sacramento Bee, 9/25/13
This is great news for many reasons but one great reason to be happy because there was some big time objection to raising the minimum wage in California:Many low-wage workers across the state hailed the news.
Anthony Goytia, who works the overnight shift at a Walmart store in Duarte, currently lives in a garage with his wife and two children, while a third is on the way.
“If I had a higher wage, we would be able to rent an apartment,” he told The Huffington Post. “[Right now] we’re living in poverty. I have to live check to check.”
He detailed the struggles of living off a low wage, especially with a family. “I want to be able to buy my kids shoes if they need them and not wait for our income tax [return] to do it,” he said. “I want to give my wife money for maternity pants and underwear. She needs bras. It’s just ridiculous.”
Goytia said his family cannot afford Walmart’s health insurance plan and must depend on Medi-Cal, the state's Medicare program, instead. They also frequently receive food stamps.
“I really don’t want to depend on food stamps,” he told HuffPost. “I’m a hardworking person; I want to be a proud, working American that’s not on public assistance."
Maria Cristobal works seasonally in a packinghouse or in the lettuce and chile fields near where she lives with her two children in Fresno.
“Two more dollars would impact me a lot,” she told HuffPost. “I would definitely like to have more money for the house, for food, for rent, utilities.”
But she worries that a minimum wage hike might equal a price hike as well.
“When they raise wages, they raise prices of things," she said. "I think companies will cut back on hiring people, and it’s hard to find work sometimes.”
Brown, however, argued the reverse, saying wages in California have stagnated while consumer prices have continued to rise.
“The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs,” the governor said in a release. “This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy.” - Huffington Post, 9/25/13
I'm a born and raised Pennsylvanian but I'm proud to have called California my home since 2007. Today, I'm even more proud to live in California. Thank you Governor Brown.In opposing the measure, Republican lawmakers said increased wages would encourage businesses to cut jobs and automate.
The California Chamber of Commerce was against the bill, saying it will drive up businesses’ costs by ratcheting up other wages and workers’ compensation payments.
“Small business owners will now be forced to make tough choices including reducing employee hours, cutting positions entirely, and for many, closing their doors altogether,” said John Kabateck, head of the California branch of the National Federation of Independent Business.
Federal law sets a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, but California is among 19 states and the District of Columbia that set a higher state minimum wage.
The federal minimum provides $15,080 a year assuming a 40-hour work week, which is $50 below the federal poverty line for a family of two. More than 15 million workers nationally earn the national minimum, which compares with the median national salary of $40,350, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
President Barack Obama has sought an increase of the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.
Among states, Washington has the top minimum wage at $9.19 an hour, an amount pegged to rise with inflation. But some cities have set higher rates, including San Francisco, which has the nation’s highest minimum wage at $10.50 an hour.
The California bill does not index the rate to inflation, meaning it would remain at $10 per hour unless the Legislature raises it again in the future. - Washington Post, 9/25/13