California Assembly members passed proposed legislation that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour in a move largely expected as the bill continues to speed along in the legislative process.
The bill passed 48-to-26 in the Assembly and now goes before the state Senate.
Thursday’s vote comes after talks over the weekend when Gov. Jerry Brown and union officials reached a deal on the proposed legislation. If passed, which is expected as early as week’s end, the bill would replace two labor-backed measures that could have ended up on the November ballot. Brown on Monday called it a “landmark deal” even as many businesses decried the measure saying it would hike up costs throughout their pay scales and eventually on to consumers.
Since Monday, the bill has rapidly wound its way through the legislative process. On Wednesday, the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved the bill on a 12-7 vote before it went to the full Assembly today.
The proposed law would increase the starting wage in the state over a six-year period beginning Jan. 1, 2017, when minimum wage would rise from the current $10 an hour to $10.50.
The initial increase to $10.50 is expected to impact about two million workers and would come at a cost of $19 million to the state’s General Fund, according to an analysis by the Department of Finance that concluded in support of the bill. The cost to the state’s General Fund once the minimum wage reaches $15 an hour in 2022 is expected to be $3.6 billion and impact about four million workers.
The bill provides for temporary stops to the scheduled wage increases based on factors such as negative job or sales tax growth or if the state’s budget falls in the red.