California is getting ready to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Originally, a $15 minimum wage was going to be on the ballot in November, but:
Gov. Jerry Brown and state labor unions have been negotiating over the past week to increase the current $10 minimum wage in increments over the next six years, a Capitol source close to the negotiations told this newspaper.
Brown aims to announce a proposal Monday or Tuesday, the source said, even as the governor had no comment on the matter. Also, it was not clear whether Kevin de León, president pro tem of the state Senate, or Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon were briefed on the final version. The Democratic leaders of the Legislature could not be reached Sunday for comment on the agreement, but both have been supportive of a $15 minimum wage, which would be the highest in the country.
One big reason for striking a deal rather than taking the question to voters: the deal that was negotiated takes longer to get to $15 than the measure that qualified for the ballot last week. Polls showed that voters would likely have approved the increase, and some of California’s major cities had already passed $15 minimum wage bills or set their minimum wages between $15 and California’s current rate of $10 an hour.
A wage of $15 an hour, full-time, year-round, comes out to just over $31,000 a year before taxes, which is still below a living wage for a single adult with no children in many California metro areas, according to the Economic Policy Institute's family budget calculator. While California’s $10 minimum wage is much better than the federal level of $7.25 an hour, it still leaves many workers struggling to get by.