California’s minimum wage going up
September 24, 2013
• Governor to sign legislation Wednesday
• Will raise it to $10 an hour by 2016
California’s minimum wage will jump to $9 per hour effective July 1, 2014 and from $9 per hour to $10 per hour, effective Jan. 1, 2016 under legislation to be signed by the governor Wednesday in photo opps in Los Angeles and Oakland.
“It has been four years since the last increase in the minimum wage in California,” said Sylvia Allegretto, an economist with the Institute for Research on Labor & Employment at the University of California, Berkeley, in statements provided by the National Employment Law Project. She commented as the legislation, AB 10 by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, was making its way through the Legislature.
“The proposed increase will, by and large, only return the buying power to the level it was at four years ago,” she said.
The Berkeley economist said one reason for the less than spectacular economic rebound in California is the pay for the lowest-paid workers.
“The economy suffers from a lack of demand thus increasing buying power of our lowest wage workers would be beneficial to the overall economy,” Ms. Allegretto said.
She added that based on research in 2008 by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, an increase in California’s minimum wage will not cost jobs, but will help families of minimum wage workers make ends meet and will strengthen the economy by providing a crucial stimulus precisely when the economy needs it the most. “The bottom line is that the economic case for this wage increase, at this time, is more than compelling,” she said.
Some other Western states already have minimum wages higher than California’s current minimum. Oregon’s is $8.95 per hour, Washington’s is $9.19, Nevada’s is $8.25. Arizona’s, however, is $7.80.
Ion all, 19 states and the District of Columbia have minimums above the federal $7.25 per hour, 22 states have minimums at the federal price point and four states have minimums under the federal level Five states – all in the South -- have no minimum wages at all.
“There are 10 states (Arizona; Colorado; Florida; Missouri; Montana; Nevada; Ohio; Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) that have minimum wages that are linked to a consumer price index. As a result of this linkage, the minimum wages in these states are normally increased each year, generally around Jan. 1,” the U.S. Department of Labor says.