CA lawmakers send Jerry Brown historic $15 minimum wage

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 2:24 PM

Jerry Brown just days after the Gov announced a deal with work leaders. With his planned signature in LA on Monday, Brown will prevent a costly ballot fight, give CA the nation’s highest wage and create it the first state to vindicate organized labor’s national “Fight for 15” rallying cry.

CA lawmakers send Jerry Brown historic $15 minimum wage

CA lawmakers moved swiftly Thursday to ratify a deal boosting the state minimum wage to $15, sending legislation to Gov. Jerry Brown just days after the Gov announced a deal with labor leaders.

With his planned signature in LA on Monday, Brown will prevent a costly ballot fight, give CA the nation’s highest wage and create it the first state to vindicate organized labor’s national “Fight for 15” rallying cry. Work executive were triumphant.

“The credit for making history today belongs to the workers who spoke out and risked it all, the work unions and community organizations who supported them, and elected leaders here in CA who listened,” Service Employees International Union Local two thousand fifteen president Laphonza Butler, who'd vowed to draw back an SEIU-backed minimum wage ballot initiative if the bill passes, said in a statement. “As a result, millions of Californians are on the path out of poverty.”

Wage hikes would occur annually, beginning with a boost to $10.50 in two thousand-seventeenth for businesses with twenty-six or more employees, $11 in two thousand-eighteenth and another dollar each year thereafter.

After the wage hits $15 it could continue to rise with inflation. Smaller businesses would've an extra year to implement each annual bump. The bill would also allow in-home health aides three annual ill days. According to the Dept of Finance, a $15 wage would cost CA about $4 billion a year.

Brown had warned a $15-an-hour wage should be done carefully, noting costs to employers and the state. But with a measure heading for the Nov ballot, he negotiated with unions and other advocates to comprise provisions that authorize governors to postpone an expand if the economy falters.

Those provisions would authorize governors to suspend annual wage increases brief of $15 if executive project that the state’s budget reserves will be in the red, or if employment and sales tax income decline. Governors would necessity to determine each Sept whether to suspend increases coming the following January.

In the first significant test for new Gathering Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, Senate Bill three passed the Gathering floor on a 48-26 mostly party-line vote Thursday. Two Democrats voted no – Assemblymen Adam Gray of Merced and Tom Daly of Anaheim – and Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, withheld his vote.

The Senate approved the measure 26-12, following a similar pattern: Not a single Republican supported the bill in either house. Onlookers in the gallery erupted in cheers and shouts of “Si Se Puede!” after both votes, highlighting the vote falling on Cesar Chavez Day.

Democratic backers called the bill a lifeline to workers struggling to survive on the current $10-an-hour minimum wage. It drew support in the Gathering from both liberals and business-friendly moderate Democrats.

“Stagnant salary have hindered economic growth and relegated too many Californians to a life of poverty, particularly in the Inland Empire,” said Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino, a moderate facing an election challenge from the left.

At times shaking their heads and scoffing at the comments in opposition, Senate Democrats repeated that an expand of the minimum wage will create life easier for the state’s lowest income families and lift them out of poverty.

“There are people out there working forty hours a week, doing back-breaking work, and still not earning enough maintain their families,” said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara.

Republicans argued the bill would backfire, hurting the people it's intended to assistance by leading employers to slice entry-level jobs and lift prices. They warned an inflated cost of living would impoverish senior citizens living on fixed incomes.

“Income inequality is the definitive challenge of our generation,” said Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, R-Big Bear Lake, but “low salary are a symptom of income inequality. They're not the root cause.” A $15 minimum wage, he said, would “unintentionally create the problem much, much worse.”

Those arguments amplified criticism from business groups who have assailed the $15 rate. They call it an untested overreach that'll worsen a business climate already burdened by heavy regulation and a recently implemented $10 wage that's among the country’s highest. CA Chamber of Commerce president Allan Zaremberg called it “too much, too fast” in a statement.

“Once taxpayers wake up and look newspaper headlines tomorrow morning, business owners are going to think it’s an April Fools joke,” said Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa.

Assemblyman David Hadley, R-Manhattan Beach, said it'd inflict pain on economically beleaguered areas of California, criticizing lawmakers “who live in high-wage, affluent parts of coastal California, who are prepared to toss an all region of this state below the bus.” He accused supporters of rushing needlessly.

“We went from a backroom deal on Sun to a vote on the floor of this chamber on Thursday,” Hadley said. “For those of us who don't obtain back to our districts during the week,” he added, “this bill will have gone from a news article, a backroom deal, to passed through the Legislature without my having spent face-to-face time with a single one of my constituents. And I ponder if maybe that wasn't the point of this whole exercise.”

Countering that point, Democratic backers argued policymakers have had years to mull a higher wage amid a concerted campaign to raise it.

“If you haven’t been talking about the minimum wage in your district,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, “then you probably haven’t been talking.”

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