Dem Midterm Push Hits San Diego with $13 Minimum Wage Proposal

Dem Midterm Push Hits San Diego with $13 Minimum Wage Proposal

San Diego voters may have the opportunity to vote this November on whether to raise the minimum wage to $13.09 per hour. City Council President Todd Gloria (right, above), the highest-ranking Democrat in San Diego, released a proposal this week that, if approved by the Council, would put his measure on the November ballot.

A February Los Angeles Times article, in reference to Democrats’ push for a higher minimum wage, states, “President Obama locked arms with Democratic governors Friday to press the case for raising the minimum wage, an issue the party is hoping will drive voters to the polls in the midterm elections.”

The proposal, as it stands now, would increase San Diego’s minimum wage to $11.09 in July 2015, to $12.09 in July 2016, and to $13.09 in July 2017. It would be indexed for inflation beginning in 2018, according to a press release from Gloria’s office. In addition, the measure would provide five earned sick days per year. 

By comparison, the state of California’s current minimum wage is $8. This amount is already scheduled to increase to $9 July 2014 and $10 in January 2016, following a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year.

A representative from Councilman Gloria’s office, declined to name specific organizations supporting the proposal, saying the Councilman is still in talks to garner public support with labor leaders, local business and non-profit organizations. She went on to emphasize the relationship between the Councilman’s office and the Center on Policy Initiatives in developing the new plan. Finally, she emphasized that in discussions with other members of the council and with community members at a meeting on April 30th, the proposal could change.

Should at least five members–over half the council–vote in favor, the proposed minimum wage increase will be put on the November ballot.

Some critics of the hike have speculated about unions’ motives for supporting this proposal. A Wall Street Journal op-ed from 2013 by Richard Berman noted that union contracts are often tied to minimum wages: “The two most popular formulas were setting baseline union wages as a percentage above the state or federal minimum wage or mandating a flat wage premium above the minimum wage.” 

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (left, above) responded to the Democrats’ proposal by saying: “I am concerned about any proposal that puts our city at a competitive disadvantage against other cities, which can hurt job growth and San Diego working families.”

Cities with the highest minimum wages include “San Francisco ($10.74 per hour), Santa Fe, N.M., ($10.66), San Jose ($10), Albuquerque, N.M., ($ 8.60) and Washington, D.C. ($ 8.25),” according to a Union-Tribune report. As Breitbart News recently reported, unions have proposed increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour in San Francisco through a ballot measure similar to the one proposed for San Diego.

Photo: Lenny Ignelzi/AP