MyNewsLA.com Photo
MyNewsLA.com Photo

The swing vote on the proposed $15 minimum wage said she will join two other Los Angeles County supervisors and vote for pay hikes for local low-paid workers, it was reported Sunday.

Hilda Solis will join her two Democratic colleagues on the board, and cast the deciding vote in favor of what will eventually become a $15 per hour wage floor in unincorporated areas of L.A. County, the Los Angeles Times posted on its website today.

Several city councils are also considering matching the wage increase, which has already been approved by the Los Angeles City Council.

“Yes, it is going to happen,” said county supervisor Hilda Solis, who represents the eastern part of the county, according to an article The Times posted on its web page today.

The matter comes up for a vote Tuesday.

It was a surprise to her labor allies when Solis wavered on providing the third vote for the wage hike when the last vote was taken, on June 23. Solis is a labor union ally, and her vote was thought to be assured.

But she balked at the last minute, and said she wanted to consult with the numerous small businesses that would be affected in the industrial belt east of the Civic Center.

“I’ve been supportive from the beginning,” Solis told The Times. “But I wanted to make sure that county resources were focussed in on how we move through the transition.”

Those resources include cutting red tape and unnecessary regulations that make it more costly to do business in Los Angeles County than other places, Solis had said last month.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl has been pushing her colleagues to support the drafting of an ordinance raising the county’s minimum wage incrementally over the next five years, reaching $15 by 2020. Her fellow Democrat, Mark Ridley- Thomas, was on board.

But a report prepared for the county by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation even gave Kuehl worries.

The two Republican supervisors, Mike Antonovich and Don Knabe, voted against the wage hike last month.

Antonovich said he was disappointed the report did not outline the possible effects of a wage increase on nonprofits. He also said he wanted information about the effects of a wage increase on businesses that will be operating across the street from others without the same salary requirements.

He also suggested that some large businesses — such as Magic Mountain theme park — could be annexed into other cities to avoid paying the higher wages, costing the county tax dollars.

A variety of stakeholders, including minimum-wage workers, business owners, business associations and even Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, have urged to board to move ahead with the wage hike.

“We must end poverty wages throughout our county,” Garcetti said before the last vote. “You are the second-largest city in your unincorporated areas.

“Over a million people depend on you to be the mayors of your town. Our message today to the 2.7 million people of Los Angeles County who live in poverty — I hope that help is on the way. We must end poverty wages in Los Angeles.”

Kuehl’s proposed county wage hike would — like the city’s — include a series of increases over five years, beginning July 1, 2016, and reaching $15 an hour by 2020. The wage would go to $10.50 in July 2016, $12 in July 2017, $13.25 in July 2018 and $14.25 in July 2019. Like the city increase, Kuehl’s proposal would delay the increase by one year for businesses with fewer than 26 employees.

After 2020, the wage would be adjusted annually based on the cost of living.

Kuehl said earlier she was making the proposal because “many county residents, despite working full time, earn too little in wages to cover even the bare necessities, such as safe housing, healthy food, adequate clothing and basic medical care.”

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