An initiative that would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour statewide on Jan. 1, 2021 has qualified for the November ballot, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced.
What backers have dubbed the Fair Wage Act of 2016 would increase the minimum wage to $11 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017, and by $1 in each of the next four years. The minimum wage would then be adjusted annually based on the rate of inflation for the previous year, using the California Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.
The minimum wage was increased to $10 per hour on New Year’s Day.
Passage of the initiative would result in a change in annual state and local tax revenues potentially ranging from a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to a gain of more than $1 billion, according to an analysis prepared by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance.
The analysis also found passage would result in increased state and local government spending of billions of dollars per year. Changes in state revenues from passage would affect required state budget reserves, debt payments, and funding for schools and community colleges.
Backers say passage would cause the economy to grow through additional spending by consumers and increase tax revenues. Opponents of minimum wage increases have said they would lead to higher unemployment because of higher costs for businesses and higher prices as business operators pass the higher costs along to consumers.
—Staff and wire reports
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