May 30, 2014 (San Diego)- The California Senate, in a Bill sponsored by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, intends to raise the minimum wage statewide to $13.00\hour by 2017. This raise, if the Assembly takes on SB 935, and passes it, will change the discussion in the City of San Diego, which is considering a raise as well.
The raise statewide by 2017 will provide a stimulus to the pay of minimum wage workers who have consistently lost ground since 1968 according to economic data. It is also a far steeper rise than the $9.00\hour that the President has asked for. According to Raise the Minimum wage this increase will barely make the minimum wage go as far as the 1968 Federal Standard. But in San Diego, according to the Center for Policy Initiatives this will still not mean self sufficiency.
If the Assembly acts on this increase in the minimum wage, it will be among the highest nationwide. It will also provide for an economic stimulus as workers will have more money to meet many unmet needs, including proper nutrition, shelter and perhaps, even limited entertainment. This will also provide an upwards pressure for the rest of the wage scale.
SB 935, like San Francisco’s mandate, will include an annual adjustment to inflation. This alone will be a revolutionary change in the State, and perhaps provide a direct pressure to other states across the nation. Predictably, the California Chamber has called this a job killer. Republicans also keep making the argument that only entry level workers, such as summer jobs, work minimum wage jobs. Never mind that it is well understood that many minimum wage workers work in the service industry and are adults.
With this vote, the discussion is no longer just a San Diego discussion, but truly statewide.