Local Business Owner Weighs in on Proposed Minimum Wage Hike

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SACRAMENTO —

Lawmakers and union members came one step closer to making California’s minimum wage the highest in the nation. Saturday the two groups came to an agreement to raise the state’s wage to $15 an hour by 2022.

Before the plan to introduce a bill, a ballot measure addressing the minimum wage issue was approved, another was in the signature process. If a minimum wage bill passes the legislature, the ballot measures would become void.

With his tips, on a busy night, Iron Grill bartender Bareket Brooks says he does pretty well. He earns more than minimum wage, but sympathizes with those who want it increased to $15 an hour.

“For right now, I think it would be a good idea. It seems like California’s screaming, like people my age and younger, that we need minimum wage to go up. A lot of people aren’t able to survive,” said Brooks.

Brooks also knows that as a result, prices will rise.

“It’s going to hurt is somewhere else, what we shop for, where we get our gas. Some way it’s going to balance out,” said Brooks.

Saturday night when state lawmakers announced they reached a deal with unions to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2022, Bill Taylor, owner of Willy’s Burgers and Iron Grill in Sacramento, says he had mixed feelings.

“I want my employees to be better off. How I think about it is, I think the legislature’s going about it all wrong,” said Taylor.

He says for a restaurant like his about 35 percent of his costs go to labor, with a $15 an hour minimum wage, that’ll change significantly.

“You know your business is going to drop a little bit because you’re going to have to charge more,” Taylor said.

But as everyday costs rise, many state and local lawmakers say raising the minimum wage will be crucial for the working class to survive.

In a statement, Sacramento mayoral candidate Darrell Steinberg said:

“As the only candidate for Sacramento Mayor who was on the record in support of this proposal, I view a statewide minimum wage solution that provides certainty for employers as good for workers, good for business and good for Sacramento.”

Rival candidate Angelique Ashby declined to comment Sunday.

With a relatively high current minimum wage, $15 dollars an hour would make California’s far and ahead the highest in the nation.

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