Assembly Moves Forward a Much Needed Increase in the Minimum Wage

Earlier today, the Assembly passed Assembly Bill 10 (Alejo), which proposes a $1.25 increase in California’s minimum wage over the next three years. The bill also proposes annual, inflation-based adjustments to the minimum wage starting in 2017. Raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation would result in modest and predictable increases in pay for low-income families.

Currently, the state’s minimum wage falls far short of providing sufficient income to lift low-income families out of poverty. An individual who works full-time at the minimum wage in 2013 will earn just $16,640 — $2,890 less than the 2013 federal poverty line for a family of three. In fact, the purchasing power of the state’s minimum wage remains low by historical standards and is 31.3 percent lower than its peak value in 1968. Moreover, the purchasing power of the minimum wage will continue to erode in coming years if the state does not act to increase it.

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Raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation is a necessary step that will bring low-income families one step closer to self-sufficiency. AB 10’s progress in the Senate merits close attention.

— Kristin Schumacher