Here is a look at some of this week’s minimum wage stories from around the country. The American Booksellers Association is encouraging its members to reach out to town, county, or state officials to ensure they have a voice in any minimum wage discussions that take place in their communities.
- California: Pasadena Votes to Increase Minimum Wage; Glendale and West Hollywood May Be Next
- California, Part 2: San Diego Voters to Vote on Minimum Wage Increase in June
- Montana: Bozeman Mayor Looking to Increase Wages
- New Jersey: Democrats to Propose Minimum Wage Increase
- Oregon: Minimum Wage Increase Presents Constitutional Issue
The Pasadena City Council voted unanimously to increase the minimum wage to $13.25 by 2018, according to 89.3 KPCC. In 2018, the city will then study the impact of the wage increase on the local economy, at which point it will consider whether to continue the increases to $15 per hour by 2020. California’s minimum wage increased to $10 per hour on January 1.
Now, the Pasadena city attorney is required to draft an ordinance, which must be returned to the full council for approval in a future meeting. Pasadena joins Santa Monica, Long Beach, and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, in raising the minimum wage, and an hourly wage increase is under consideration in West Hollywood, KPCC reported.
The city of Glendale, California, is studying the impact of increasing the minimum wage as the city council prepares to discuss the issue at a later date, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
In June, residents of San Diego will vote on raising the city’s minimum wage to $10.50 immediately, and then to $11.50 per hour on January 1, 2017, as well as giving workers the right to accrue up to 40 hours of annual paid sick leave, according to CBS8.com. The proposal was unanimously placed on the June primary election ballot by the city council this past Monday, the article noted.
“We know that 38 percent of San Diegans cannot afford to make ends meet — not because they’re not working, they actually do work, they just don’t earn enough to live in this city,’’ Councilman Todd Gloria told CBS8.com. “People are struggling, and they need to hear from their city leaders that we will not leave them behind.’’
However, Joe Roe of San Diego’s Small Business Coalition said the proposed minimum wage increase would put small business at a competitive disadvantage. “The result will be that small businesses — the biggest creator of jobs in the nation — will be forced to lay off workers in order to absorb the increased costs,’’ Roe said. ``More unemployment is not good for the economy and it is certainly not good for those struggling to make ends meet.’’
Bozeman’s new mayor, Carson Taylor, told the city commission that one of his priorities is to increase the city’s minimum wage above the state’s minimum wage of $8.05 per hour, as reported by NBC Montana. The mayor did not say how much of an increase he is hoping for. Montana’s minimum wage increased last year from $7.90 to its current level of $8.05.
Democrats in New Jersey plan to introduce a bill that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, as reported by the Asbury Park Press. The bill, sponsored by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) and Deputy Speaker John S. Wisniewski (D-19), would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour from the current $8.38 an hour. Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) said he would introduce a similar bill in the Senate.
APP reported that the proposed bill’s chance of success is low. Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a proposed minimum wage hike in 2013 before lawmakers put the question to voters on the ballot directly. And business groups oppose the idea of a $15 an hour wage. “It takes away that certainty and predictability businesses need when they do their planning,” Michele Siekerka, president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, a trade group, told APP. “Just proposing it sends a chilling effect.”
Oregon’s constitution may stand in the way of the state’s push to increase the minimum wage, according to the Statesman Journal. Speaking before Oregon’s Senate Committee on Workforce and General Government, Roger Nyquist, Linn County Commissioner, informed the committee that Linn County would not comply with minimum wage bill, SB 1532.
Nyquist explained that the state constitution requires the legislature to reimburse local governments when they spend money to follow new laws. The minimum wage would increase local government payroll costs, he said, “so if you pass this minimum wage program and you don’t fund it for local government, it’s our interpretation that Linn County doesn’t have to participate.”
In late January, Oregon governor Kate Brown announced a plan to increase the minimum wage over a six-year period, according to KGW.com. Under the plan, the statewide minimum wage will start at $9.75 and increase to $13.25 by 2022. In Portland, the minimum wage will start at $9.75 and increase to $14.50 by 2022, according to Brown’s plan.
The Statesman Journal reported that Ted Reutlinger, chief deputy of the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Counsel, told the committee that he concurred with Nyquist’s interpretation of the constitution. “If you were to pass this bill as it is without providing funding … it would be up to the local governments to decide whether to comply with it,” Reutlinger said. “This is the first time that I’ve ever heard of this particular issue coming up.”