A plan to increase California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 has opened the biggest fault lines yet between advocates of higher pay and critics who say it kills jobs and raises prices for consumers.
Proponents say the Golden State’s bold move will provide a decent living wage for millions of low-income residents, prove a bonanza for California’s economy and prompt other states to follow.
“They’re showing that it’s economically realistic to restore decent wages at the bottom” of the pay scale, says Paul Sonn, general counsel of the National Employment Project.
But opponents say it will force employers to replace workers with technology and sow particular hardship in a diverse California economy that includes many rural and distressed areas whose businesses can’t afford such a lofty base wage.
“We’ll have a lot of businesses close,” says Michael Saltsman, research director for the Employment Policies Institute, which is partly funded by the restaurant industry.
Under the plan, the state’s minimum wage would rise from $10 to $10.50 in 2017 and increase gradually each year through 2022. Sonn says $15 an hour – or about $30,000 a year -- would simply allow families to afford the basics.
More at source: USAtoday
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