Eric Garcetti to Raise Minimum Wage

Eric Garcetti to Raise Minimum Wage

The Los Angeles Times reports that on Tuesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to raise the city’s minimum wage to $13.50 an hour in the next three years was confirmed by top business leaders in the community. 

Gary Toebben, executive director of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, were informed by members of Garcetti’s administration that Garcetti wants the current $9 an hour wage to climb $1.50 a year for three years, raising it to $13.50 by 2017. After that, the wage would rise commensurate with the Consumer Price Index for the metropolitan Los Angeles area. Toebben confirmed that Garcetti wants the wage to reach $15 an hour.

Jeff Millman, a spokesman for Garcetti, intoned, “One of Mayor Garcetti’s top priorities is to lift Angelenos out of poverty. In recent weeks he has met with business, labor, community, and faith leaders to discuss ways to help LA families and our economy thrive.” Millman added that the proposal would be released on Labor Day.

Both Toebben and Waldman said that the plan came as news to the business community, that it had come “out of the blue.” Labor leaders and city officials have been looking for a way to raise the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour. Another proposal offered by City Council members suggests that only workers at big hotels in the city would get a hike in their wages, while Garcetti wants all employers within city boundaries to be forced to pay minimum wage.

Both Toebben’s group and Waldman’s group have been informed of Garcetti’s plan and will vote on it; Waldman stated that VICA should vote on it on Thursday. Toebben said his group wants to wait until Garcetti releases his plan. Both men said the initial response has been negative.

Waldman said that Garcetti’s plan, added to a $1-per-hour hike the state recently initiated, is a “huge amount of money to expect a business to shoulder.” Waldman added that businesses will simply move elsewhere, prompting job losses. He also stated that people might have to leave their homes, as they will not qualify for public assistance.

Waldman said, “Businesses will have to address the increased costs. They will either increase their price or lay people off or move their business.”

The Times  took the opportunity to slam the GOP, writing, “The U.S. Congress, stymied by Republican opposition, has failed to act on repeated attempts to increase the minimum wage at the federal level.” It would be more accurate to say, “Democrats in Congress, stymied by Republican opposition,” but apparently the Times views Congress as a Democratic institution with GOP outliers.