Gov. Brown Signs Bill Enacting Highest Statewide Minimum Wage

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — California has enacted the nation’s highest statewide minimum wage of $15 an hour to take effect by 2022.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of the bill Monday in Los Angeles, and a similar New York effort, mark the most ambitious moves yet to close the national divide between rich and poor.

Business groups fear the increase will cost thousands of jobs.

Democratic lawmakers approved the measure last week with no Republican support.

Republicans and business groups warn that the move could cost thousands of jobs, while a legislative analysis puts the ultimate cost to taxpayers at $3.6 billion a year in higher pay for government employees.

The Democratic governor negotiated the deal to head off competing labor-backed ballot initiatives.

Brown says the most populous state’s fast-growing economy can absorb the raises.