Senate panel passes
minimum wage bill
Legislation that would sharply increase California’s minimum wage and index it to inflation cleared its first legislative hurdle.
It’s doubtful whether Gov. Jerry Brown would sign another minimum wage boost a year after he and the Legislature enacted an increase.
The 2013 legislation raises the minimum wage, now $8 per hour, to $9 on July 1, then to $10 in 2016.
The new legislation, Senate Bill 935, carried by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is backed by labor unions and advocates for the poor. It would raise the minimum wage to $11 per hour on Jan. 1, 2015, and then $12 in 2016 and $13 in 2017. Beginning in 2018, the wage would be automatically indexed to inflation each year.
Leno told the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, which approved the bill Wednesday, that another boost is needed to stimulate the economy and combat poverty and middle-class decline. Citing Wal-Mart and other employers, Leno said, “We, the taxpayers, are subsidizing the wealthiest people in this country.”
Employer groups, particularly those representing restaurants and farmers, lined up against the Leno measure.
“Tony Beard deserves a raise.”