The California State Legislature has approved a bill that would raise minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016. The bill would raise minimum wage to $9 an hour next July and to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016. Minimum wage in the state currently sits at $8 an hour. Gov. Jerry Brown has said he will sign the bill into law.
"The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs," Brown said in a statement. "This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy." The measure will be the first minimum-wage hike in California in five years and will help an estimated 2.4 million Californians bring home a little extra cash.
"This is the time to raise the minimum wage to provide relief for hard-working families," said Assemblyman Luis Alejo, the bill's author. Labor unions supported the bill but business groups have opposed it.
Some Republican lawmakers are also against the increase because they say it will cost some low-wage workers their jobs, Newser reported.
"The impact of this is not on huge employers," said Sen. Jim Nielsen. "It is on the smaller employer, the mom and pop operation."
Louis Benitez, a 51-year-old Los Angeles waiter is excited about the possibility of a wage increase. "It would be a big help to get a little bit more money per hour," he said.
Washington State has the highest minimum wage at $9.19 an hour, followed by Oregon at $8.95 and Vermont at $8.60. California ranks eighth on the list.
Sen. Bill Monning said raising California's minimum wage "is a moral imperative."