Lawmakers OK state-wide $15 minimum wage

Dollar Puzzle 02

The Legislature passed it, the governor said he’ll sign it, and so a $15-per-hour minimum wage is all but a done deal.

The measure, which raises the wage from $10 per hour incrementally until 2022 and 2023 (depending on the size of the business), was approved in both chambers of the Legislature on Thursday, and Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown issued a statement of support immediately after.

Both chambers debated the measure, with proponents and opponents presenting oft-cited arguments. CalWatchdog covered the battle lines in detail in February, when two union-backed initiatives were vying to make the November ballot.

Debating the policy

Proponents of the wage increase argue businesses will ultimately absorb much of the increased labor costs, workers will have more money to put back in the economy, and the increased wages will exceed inflation in terms of buying power.

Opponents argue the inflation will reduce the purchasing power of the dollar and offset the increase in pay. They also argue the minimum wage is meant to be introductory or temporary and a more effective solution is increased opportunity for advancement. Opponents argue smaller, seasonal and low profit-margin businesses (like restaurants) will be forced to cut jobs and invest in labor-saving technology while larger companies will flee the state looking for a friendlier business climate.


The measure actually stalled last year in the Legislature over concerns that the wage was increasing too much too soon. Earlier this year, Gov. Brown warned in his budget proposal that an increase to $15 per hour would raise the state’s labor expenses by $4 billion.

But when one of the two initiatives qualified for the ballot a little over a week ago, Brown cut a deal with the union leaders that slowed the increase ladder and added “off ramps” to pause increases in tough economic times. The deal was announced Monday.

Brown was in a bind, as the measure seemed sure to pass on the November ballot. Polling showed Californians were in favor of the increase, presidential-cycle turnouts are usually favorable to Democrats, who largely support the increase, and the success of Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who has campaigned heavily on an increase, showed his message was resonating with voters.

“The basic economic problems of a minimum wage haven’t gone away, but political considerations were too strong to resist,” said John J. Pitney, a Roy P. Crocker professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College.

Slow down

Prior to the vote, the left-leaning editorial board of the Los Angeles Times, which called Brown’s compromise “good,” urged lawmakers to slow down and consider all options, arguing that little is known about the impact of a 90 percent increase over a nine-year period (which includes two prior increases), floating a regional wage increase instead.

“Lawmakers are not doing their due diligence if they don’t take the time to analyze the alternatives to a blanket $15 minimum wage, or at least take steps to mitigate the potential impacts,” wrote the board.

Brown supports

After the bill passed, Gov. Brown repeated his comments from earlier in the week calling the deal “responsible” and “careful,” and said he’d sign the measure on Monday in Los Angeles.

“California is proving once again that it can get things done and help people get ahead,” Brown said in a statement. “This plan raises the minimum wage in a careful and responsible way and provides some flexibility if economic and budgetary conditions change.”

The first increase of 50 cents per hour goes into effect at the beginning of 2017.


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  1. Dude
    Dude 31 March, 2016, 17:31

    Moonbeam is a union owned phallic head.

    Reply this comment
  2. doug
    doug 31 March, 2016, 20:11

    this brought 2 questions to my mind.
    1- how much revenue will the state make with the increase in payroll tax along with income taxes?
    do these people really think they will get a better return?
    2- will this increase in income make those using welfare now ineligible?

    “the cost of an education is expensive, being uneducated never cost so much more”

    Reply this comment
    • Standing Fast
      Standing Fast 1 April, 2016, 13:15

      Ooooo, good questions.
      I’ll be the correct answers are:
      1a: Not enough. That is because no matter how much revenue government receives, it is NEVER enough.
      1b: Yes, or they would be against it, wouldn’t they?
      2: Well, perhaps for about five minutes until the cost of living rises past the percentage gain from the increase.

      To your parting comment:
      If you can read you can educate yourself by borrowing books from the library. It doesn’t cost anything to do this except for transportation if you don’t walk and you return your books on time. Even if you don’t it is still cheaper to do it this way. Plus you won’t have to suffer through all the indoctrination exercises that pass for education nowadays.

      Reply this comment
  3. bob
    bob 1 April, 2016, 05:29

    Why not just make it $25 an hour? Even at that you couldn’t afford a house in Colliefornia (as Ahnode call it). So why not $50 an hour? Who cares if a burger and fries will cost $100.

    Reply this comment
  4. Queeg
    Queeg 1 April, 2016, 09:42


    The Visigoths are celebrating with barbecued gored ox and mucho scallions and wood fired spuds!

    Finally, the service industry pays a fair wage for exploiting the masses.

    Reply this comment
  5. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 1 April, 2016, 10:32

    This is a great day in Commiefornia. Why you ask? Because it means every retail checkout stand in the state will soon be an automated self serve station. No more waiting in line for half an hour while some affirmative action hire has an inane conversation with the doofus customer ahead of you. No more being overcharged by low IQ retail drones who can’t make change correctly or operate a cash register. No more being treated like a criminal and forced to show I.D. because you have the nerve to use your fraud protected credit card. From now on every retail transaction will be fast, efficient and conveniently automated.

    But what happens to the dullards who used to botch up these transactions routinely? They will adopt the pseudonym “Queeg” and spend the rest of their lives collecting unemployment and posting inane comments on websites while lurking in mommies back bedroom in their soiled undies. Whoopie!

    Reply this comment
  6. Queeg
    Queeg 1 April, 2016, 17:21

    Comrade Dys

    The little people will rule California for a long long time. Your going to pay to bring equity for the poor and exploited. Ripping off hapless service orkers is over.

    As far as your scanners and robots…bring them on. Service sector efficency is a nagging problem. Perhaps robots are helpful on mundane tasks.

    Reply this comment
  7. Ronald
    Ronald 4 April, 2016, 07:03

    With one stroke of the pen, the do-something Legislature has bought the votes of the high wage earners and the financially challenged. Higher wage earners are rejoicing as the impact on their wages will be fantastic in the next 10 to 20 years. Because our elected officials never look at the unintended consequences that higher wages for everyone will benefit the rich more than those on minimum wage via those annual Cost of Living Adjustments in the years ahead. The separation of the rich from the financially challenged continues to be perpetuated with the “traditional” COLA wage adjustments.

    Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA) to wages favors the well paid: A 3% COLA adjustment for someone making $100K will result in their compensation being almost $135K in 10 years, but for someone making $30K, their compensation will be $40K in 10 years. The differential being $24K more for the well compensated as the financially challenged continue to fall further behind.

    The new minimum wage crusade will result in ALL wages increasing. The crusade to put a “band aid” on the wound of these ever increasing costs, is to raise the minimum wage. The better solution would be to HEAL the wound by DECREASING the over regulations, over taxation, and uncontrollable “fees” on businesses that are slight inconveniences to those making the big bucks but the California financially challenged will continue to disproportionally pick up the costs “camouflaged” at businesses.

    Throwing money as a band aid to cover the rising costs for everyone buys votes for reelection, but does not heal the wound of why the costs are rising.

    Reply this comment

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