Gov. Brown signs legislation to increase minimum wage

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — 1:49 p.m. — Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday that will raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, bringing praise from a San Diego City Council member and criticism from a regional business leader.

Brown, during a ceremony in Los Angeles, said the passage of SB 3 doesn’t mark the end of the struggle for livable wages, but it’s a big step in the right direction.

"It’s about people,” Brown said. "It’s about creating a little tiny balance in a system that every day becomes more unbalanced.”

Councilman Todd Gloria, who authored a ballot measure to raise San Diego’s minimum wage and provide workers with five paid annual sick days, called the bill signing a "bold step” in the right direction.

Related Video: Alan Gin speaks on California minimum wage increase 

"It’s a strong signal that we get it, and that there are real families that are working very, very hard but not making ends meet,” Gloria told City News Service. "This is an attempt to try and address that — we have more to do.”

In a statement, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Sanders said businesses are still struggling because of the Jan. 1 increase to $10 an hour.

"Now, businesses are facing an additional five years of increased costs and we aren’t providing real opportunities for sustained growth or prosperity,” Sanders said.

"It’s unrealistic to think that this dramatic legislation won’t cause businesses, particularly small businesses, to consider cutting their employees’ hours or letting them go,” Sanders said. "Some may even have to close their doors.”

He said the wage hike is part of a regulatory environment that makes it difficult to conduct business in California and is counterproductive for many of the families in need of solutions.

The wage hike will affect 5.6 million workers, or about one-third of the statewide workforce, officials said.

"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.”

President Barack Obama issued a statement in which he commended the state Legislature and the governor for raising the minimum wage and providing the sick days for IHSS workers.

"With these actions, California is expanding its promise to workers that they shouldn’t have to lose a paycheck if they get sick and has ensured that workers will no longer be earning a wage that keeps too many families in poverty,” Obama said.

"Since I first called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage in 2013, 18 states and the District of Columbia have acted on their own to raise
the minimum wage,” Obama said. "States and cities are making progress in expanding paid leave. Now it’s time for Congress to step up and do what is right for every hard-working American and for our economy.”

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he’s interested in policies that will put people back to work.

"That’s my focus in terms of growing the economy — which we’ve been doing, decreasing unemployment — which we’ve been doing, and so I want to always make sure that in San Diego, we are remaining competitive with other areas across the state,” Faulconer said.

Labor unions are pushing two separate ballot initiatives aimed at raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. Backers of one of the initiatives have said they will drop their effort in light of the new law. Backers of the other initiative said they were waiting until after the bill signing before deciding whether to drop their measure.

9:30 a.m. — Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign legislation that will raise the minimum wage in California to $15 an hour by 2022. The proposal passed both houses of the California Legislature today and the last hurdle it faced was Gov. Brown’s signing. 

The legislation will make California the first state in the nation to commit to increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The first increase will come January 1, 2017 when the minimum wage will increase to $10.50 an hour and will continually increase until 2022. 

In a statement, Gov. Brown said, “This plan raises the minimum wage in a careful and responsible way and provides some flexibility if economic and budgetary conditions change."

Watch the historic signing here

12 p.m. — The California Assembly gathered to vote on a proposal to gradually raise minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 and passed the bill. The proposal cleared its first hurdle, and will now move on to the U.S. Senate’s table. 

Thursday 9:58 a.m. — The California State Assembly will be voting on increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 Thursday.

Related Video: Local leaders react to new minimum wage increase

On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown struck a deal between labor leaders and state lawmakers for a minimum wage hike proposal that will be voted on today.

If passed, the minimum wage in California would increase gradually every year until it reaches $15 an hour by 2022. By 2017, minimum wage would increase 50 cents. 

Monday — California seems to be leading the way in increasing the minimum wage. 

Over the weekend, a deal was reached among Governor Brown along with labor leaders and state lawmakers to increase the wage to $15 an hour.

This proposal still has to be voted on this week by the state legislature.

However, it looks like it will pass.

The minimum wage in California would increase gradually every year until it reaches $15 an hour by 2022.

The governor made his historic announcement official earlier on Monday.

"An agreement has been reached among key labor leaders, legislative leaders and my administration to raise the minimum wage over time to 15 dollars an hour," Governor Brown said.

This new agreement will bypass a general election vote in November. If passed, the state legislature gives its OK.

Also, during an economic crisis, the governor, under this proposal, has the ability to suspend minimum wage increases.

If passed, in 2017, minimum wage will increase by 50 cents, bringing it to $10.50 an hour.

This major announcement by Governor Brown comes just months before a proposed local hike in the minimum wage goes before San Diego voters.

The deal to boost California’s minimum wage was reached after labor unions threatened to take the issue directly to the voters.

In fact, one of the labor sponsored initiatives just qualified for the November ballot.

In the meantime, the San Diego City Council’s decision to raise the local minimum wage to $11.50 an hour next year and then in 2019 tie annual increases to the consumer price index, which goes before voters this June.

It wasn’t implemented because there was a successful referendum campaign on the part of small businesses in particular to put it to a public vote.

It it’s approved, the current $10 an hour in the city would go to $10.50 an hour as soon as the election results were certified.

"The state already increased minimum by 25 percent over last years. Now small businesses and nonprofits trying to figure out their fundamentals as it happens," said Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Sean Karafin.

Also of a concern to the chamber is that the measure would provide full time workers with five paid sick days a year.

Supporters say however, the wage hike would help local businesses by boosting the buying power of low wage workers. They also say it’s unfair that full time workers can’t afford the basics.

The chamber counters that there are solutions to the poverty issue, but they’re a lot more complex than legislators are willing to take on.

"There’s no short cuts to ending poverty, and we know that, money for education, addressing chronic homelessness and proven strategies across the nation, but there’s also something called the federal earned income tax credit. It’s a proven strategy to get families extra dollars and it does it a lot better than increasing the minimum wage does," Karafin said. 

2:00 p.m. — Governor Jerry Brown joined legislators and labor leaders Monday to detail the landmark agreement that makes California the first state in the nation to commit to raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour statewide. 

Under the plan, minimum wage will rise to $10.50 per hour on January 1, 2017 for businesses with 25 or more employees, and then rises each year until reaching $15 per hour in 2022. The plan also recognizes the contributions of small businesses – those with fewer than 25 employees – to California’s economy and allows additional time for these employers to phase in the increases. 

“California is proving once again that it can get things done and help people get ahead,” said Governor Brown. “This plan raises the minimum wage in a careful and responsible way and provides some flexibility if economic and budgetary conditions change.”

The purpose of the plan is to increase the minimum wage over time, consistent with economic expansion, while providing safety valves – known as “off-ramps” – to pause wage hikes if negative economic or budgetary conditions emerge. The Governor can act by September 1 of each year to pause the next year’s wage increase for one year if there is a forecasted budget deficit (of more than one percent of annual revenue) or poor economic conditions (negative job growth and retail sales).

Once the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour for all businesses, wages could then be increased each year up to 3.5 percent (rounded to the nearest 10 cents) for inflation as measured by the national Consumer Price Index.

This plan also phases in sick leave for In-Home Supportive Services workers starting in July 2018. 

Governor Brown signed AB 10 in September 2013 to raise California’s minimum wage 25 percent, from $8 to $10 per hour, effective January 1, 2016. There are approximately 7 million hourly workers in California, of which about 2.2 million earn the minimum wage.

Additional information on the minimum wage deal can be found here.

Sunday — California legislators and labor unions reached a deal Saturday evening that could facilitate the gradual rise of the state’s minimum wage up to $15 an hour by 2022. The deal is not finalized, though progress has been made that could avert similar proposals from making the ballot in November. 

"This is not a done deal," Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, told The Associated Press. "Everyone’s been operating in good faith and we hope to get it through the Legislature."

Leno did not provide specifics on the proposal, though it’s expected that the model would raise minimum wage by $1 an hour per year until it reaches the $15 plateau. Minimum wage in California is currently $10 an hour, but the jump would make it the highest statewide wage floor in the nation. A proposal that would increase minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021 has already qualified for the balloting in November, and could still be included if progress is delayed. 

"Ours is on the ballot. We want to be certain of what all this is," Sean Wherley, a spokesman of the labor union responsible for directing the qualified proposal to ballot, said. "If some agreement is signed into law, then our executive board would decide what to do. They would only make that decision after any agreement is signed into law."

Lawmakers could vote on this deal as early as next week. Oregon officials approved a similar increase earlier in March, passing legislature that will raise minimum wage to $15 an hour in urban areas over a six-year span. 

The city of San Diego will have its own minimum wage vote on the June ballot, which could raise the local minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by January. 

Categories: Local San Diego News