California’s minimum wage would rise to $11 per hour next year under a bill passed by the state senate on Monday.
The bill by San Francisco Democrat Mark Leno would supersede a measure passed less than two years ago raising the minimum wage to $10 over the same period.
“Despite our recovering economy, millions of Californians, many of them children, continue to live in poverty,” Leno said in a statement. “Full-time workers in this state should not be forced onto public assistance simply because they earn the minimum wage.”
The state’s current minimum wage of $9 an hour leaves workers below the federal poverty line for a family of four, Leno said. After raising the minimum wage to $11 in 2016, his bill would hike it again to a minimum of $13 per hour in 2017, and tie it thereafter to the rate of inflation.
It comes amid nationwide concern that pay increases for middle-class and blue-collar workers have been far outstripped by inflation. Seattle recently began implementing a plan to raise the minimum wage there to $15 per hour, and the Los Angeles City Council recently voted to hike that city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.
Leno’s bill, one of a flurry of anti-poverty measures under consideration in the Democratic-controlled legislature this year, would still have to pass the state Assembly and be approved by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.
It is opposed by numerous business organizations including the California Chamber of Commerce.
In 2013, Brown was only willing to sign a law increasing the minimum to $10 if the implementation was put off until 2016.
Some 29 states and Washington, D.C. have minimum wages above the federal minimum of $7.25, and 10 states enacted increases in 2014.