Lawmakers approve measure to raise minimum wage to $13/h by 2017

Lawmakers approve measure to raise minimum wage to $13/h by 2017

California lawmakers on Thursday passed a measure that would gradually increase the minimum wage in the state by $5 per hour by the year of 2017. Currently the minimum wage in the state is at $8 an hour.

Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the author of the bill, said it was necessary to help nearly eight million workers in the state in getting out of poverty. He added that the current minimum wage is so low that it forces many workers to depend on public assistance.

Supporting the bill, he said, "Income inequality has been spoken of by our president as the defining challenge of our time." It is our tax dollars that are subsidizing the largest corporations paying these poverty wages.

Leno also pointed out that no other state of the country has a minimum wage of $13 an hour.

The measure would hike the minimum wage to $11 per hour on January 1, 2015, to $12 an hour on January 1, 2016, and then to $13 an hour on January 1, 2017. After that, it would rise automatically in line with the consumer price index (CPI).

However, the California Chamber of Commerce has warned that the notable increase in the minimum wage could hurt the job market.

The lawmakers approved the measure by a bare-majority 21-12 vote. The bill will now be sent to the Assembly for consideration.

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