California made history this past week by being the first of 50 states to raise the minimum wage to $15. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill Monday, approving the 50 percent wage increase that will reach its promised amount by 2022.
The bill’s signing comes one week after Gov. Brown, legislators and labor leaders announced an agreement to raise current minimum wage of $10 per hour. Brown’s decision to sign the bill is more about the people than just economics, according to a release.
“This is about economic justice, it’s about people,” Brown said. “This is an important day, it’s not the end of the struggle but it’s a very important step forward.”
However, while economics is the focus of this bill, Brown said there is also a social perspective as well.
“Economically, minimum wages may not make sense,” Brown said in an article by The Sacramento Bee. “But morally and socially and politically they make every sense, because it binds the community together and makes sure that parents can take care of their kids in a much more satisfactory way.”
The Senate Bill 3 was approved by legislature on March 31. The assembly approved SB 3 with a 48-26 vote, with the Senate approving it 26-12.
“Raising the minimum wage will directly help working people who have too often had to make choices about which necessity–housing, food or health care–they can afford each month,” said assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco. “This is a balanced approach that addresses the dire needs of struggling Californians while providing predictability for employers.”
However, not all who voted on the bill agrees that it will be beneficial. Many of those being republicans, all of who voted against the bill.
“This is a backroom deal that is supposed to help workers, but will actually do much more harm than good,” said assemblyman Matthew Harper, R-Huntington Beach. “It is likely that employees will see their hours reduced, or their positions eliminated. Making jobs go away is not good for anyone, especially young people who are just starting out.”
Young people and unemployment is a known fact, with the percentage of unemployment of college students at 14.9 percent. At the same time, students also face student debt after graduation. Saddleback student Josh Pederson, 20, social psychology major said the rise in a minimum wage is a step in the right direction, but isn’t enough.
“I know plenty of students that deal with minimum wage and have to work two jobs to support themselves and deal with stacking loans,” Pederson said. “Sure it [the rise in minimum wage] will help a bit, but this seems like very small steps when students are still struggling.”
Minimum wage will rise to $10.50 next Jan. 1 for businesses with 26 or more employees, and then rise each year until reaching $15 in 2022. Once the minimum wage reaches $15 per hour for all businesses, wages could then be increased each year up to 3.5 percent for inflation.