California State Senate Votes To Raise Minimum Wage

| by Ethan Brown

On June 1, California state lawmakers approved a measure that will raise the state’s minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2017, then correlating the wage with the rate of inflation in the future.

Two years ago, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown raised the state’s minimum wage to $9 an hour, one of the highest in the nation. Next year, it will rise again to $10 an hour, CBS News reported.

The legislation, formally titled Senate Bill 3, passed the state Senate in a 23 to 15 vote. It now advances to the California Assembly.

“The president of the United States has defined income inequality as the defining challenge of our time. Wages are growing at the slowest rate relative to corporate profits in the history of the United States of America. We must do more to address this, and we can,” said state Sen. Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco. Leno authored the bill and represents a constituency who reside in the one of the most expensive cities in the country.

Major California cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, also raised their own minimum wages earlier this year. Both cities will now pay workers at least $15 an hour within the next few years, reported the Sacramento Bee

State Senate Republicans did not buy Leno’s argument of needing a higher minimum wage and voted in the minority.

“We need to honor the work of those that are creating the jobs, that are paying the taxes … With a minimum wage increase, you are attacking businesspeople who are subsidizing this state and this nation,” said Republican state Sen. John Moorlach of Costa Mesa.

The state’s Chamber of Commerce labeled the legislation a “job killer,” or legislation that would have a detrimental effect on the state’s economy.

Scott Shane, a professor at Case Western Reserve University, wrote an opinion piece in Entrepreneur about the negative effects of a higher minimum wage in 2012: “A higher minimum wage will cut employment, reduce access to the entry-level positions that lead to better jobs, increase poverty and motivate teenagers to leave school.”

Sources: CBS News, Sacramento Bee, Entrepreneur

Photo Credit: Flickr