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Government & Politics

California Legislature to Consider Minimum Wage Increase

Valley Public Radio

President Obama’s call for increasing the minimum wage in his State of the Union address this month  could face a tough road in Congress.  But a proposal in the California legislature could stand a better chance.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

California’s current minimum wage is eight dollars an hour.  A bill at the State Capitol would bump it up gradually over the next several years to $9.25 an hour … then require annual increases for inflation.  UC Berkeley labor economist Sylvia Allegretto says too many Californians are underpaid:

 “There are some big corporations who pay low minimum wages and they could afford to pay a lot higher, and we are subsidizing them because our workers are on government programs,” says Allegretto.

But John Kabateck with the National Federation of Independent Businesses says California small businesses simply can’t afford a minimum wage increase.

“I think there’s an assumption that a small business owner can waive a magic wand and suddenly make money appear when they just are struggling right now and they don’t have it,” says Kabateck.

The federal minimum wage is 75 cents below California’s current rate.