Photo by John Schreiber.
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. Photo by John Schreiber.
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. Photo by John Schreiber.

Five Los Angeles City Council members agreed Tuesday that Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plan to raise the city’s minimum wage to $13.25 by 2017 needs more scrutiny.

Mitch O’Farrell said that, while he supports efforts to raise the minimum wage, “the conversation about imposing an increase needs to be elevated and expanded.”

“It is critical we do everything we can to help lift people out of poverty. It is equally critical we do so in a thoughtful and balanced way,” he said.

Two weeks ago, the council unveiled a motion that aims to not only achieve the mayor’s goals, but to explore raising the minimum wage to $15.25 an hour by 2019. That motion, which asked for a report in 120 days, relied solely on a study released in September by UC Berkeley economists.

O’Farrell, Bob Blumenfield and three other council members now want a study on how rasing the minimum wage would affect small businesses, nonprofits and startups.

O’Farrell said he met with people who run small businesses, and they said increasing the minimum wage could force them out of business.

Blumenfield urged his colleagues to take a “deliberative” approach “as we work to lift Angelenos out of poverty.”

Small businesses are the “backbone of the Los Angeles economy” and the source of the “majority of employment opportunities,” the council members wrote in a motion introduced today.

They also raised concerns that nonprofits would be forced to reduce services, because many of them rely on state and federal funding, which is not expected to increase following a minimum wage hike.

Their motion asks to exempt certain industries, including nonprofits, from the wage hike.

Councilwoman Nury Martinez and Councilman Paul Krekorian, both of whom signed onto the earlier minimum wage proposal, are among those now also asking for an economic analysis.

Councilman Felipe Fuentes joined today’s call for an economic study of the minimum wage proposal.

The state minimum wage is $9 an hour and set to go up to $10 by January 2016.

City News Service

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