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Bill would push minimum wage to $13 an hour

02/04/2014

Sacramento Business Journal, February 4, 2014.Top ranking lawmakers in the state Senate have introduced legislation that would raise the minimum wage above the $10 per hour that was approved by California lawmakers in 2013.

The bill co-authored by state Sen. Mark Leno and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg would set minimum wage at $11 per hour in 2015, and grow it by a dollar the next year, and another dollar after that. Beginning in 2018 the wage guarantee would be annually adjusted for inflation.

“It is time to accelerate our efforts to increase the minimum wage and reduce income inequality within the state’s communities,” Leno, a San Francisco Democrat and head of the Senate Budget Committee, said in a statement.

Conservatives were quick to cast Senate Bill 935 as a job killer. Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, called the proposal the "Guaranteed Teenage Unemployment Act."

“When you are foreclosing people from entering the workforce, that certainly isn't going to benefit them over the long term,” he said.

It is unclear how Gov. Jerry Brown will respond after signing legislation just five months ago to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016. Leno said that even that measure gave Californians less purchasing power than the state’s minimum wage did in 1968.

A comment from the Brown administration was not available by deadline.

The state of California's previous minimum wage hike to $8 an hour occurred in 2008.

Senate Bill 935 may be aided by increasing public fervor around income inequality. In his State of the Union speech in January, President Barack Obama announced he is raising the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10 per hour, while Congress considers setting the federal minimum wage to the same amount.