$15 Minimum Wage Initiative cleared for signatures

By Michael Shaw

Capitol Update, Aug. 5, 2015

Anticipating that legislation to move California to a $13 minimum wage by 2019 may not reach the Governor’s desk or earn his signature, proponents of raising the base wage rate have received sign off from the Secretary of State to begin collecting signatures for an initiative that could appear on the November 2016 ballot. The initiative calls for a $15 per hour minimum wage to be achieved by $1.00 annual increases until it reaches the $15 hourly rate on January 1, 2021. To date only New York State and a handful of cities have imposed such a steep minimum wage increase.

The open question now facing organized labor is where to put their resources going into a busy election year where there will also be various tax increase proposals also vying for attention and dollars.

Here is the official initiative summary:

Minimum Wage. Increases and Future Adjustments. Initiative Statute.

Summary Date: 07/31/2015 | Circulation Deadline: 01/27/16 | Signatures Required: 365,880

Under existing law, California’s minimum wage will increase from $9.00 per hour to $10.00 per hour on January 1, 2016. This measure increases the minimum wage to $11.00 per hour, effective January 1, 2017, and by $1.00 each of the next four years, to $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2021. Thereafter, adjusts the minimum wage annually based on the rate of inflation for the previous year, using the California Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Change in annual state and local tax revenues potentially ranging from a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to a gain of more than $1 billion. Changes in state revenues would affect required state budget reserves, debt payments, and funding for schools and community colleges. Increase in state and local government spending totaling billions of dollars per year. (15-0032.) (Full Text)

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