LOS ANGELES – Backers of an initiative that would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour statewide on Jan. 1, 2021, have received permission to begin gathering signatures, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced.
What backers have dubbed the Fair Wage Act of 2016 would increase the minimum wage to $11 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017, and by $1 in each of the next four years. The minimum wage would then be adjusted annually based on the rate of inflation for the previous year, using the California Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers.
The minimum wage is $9 per hour and will increase to $10 per hour on New Year’s Day.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted last month to incrementally raise the minimum wage in unincorporated areas over the next five years, reaching $15 an hour by 2020.
Passage of the “Fair Wage” initiative would result in a change in annual state and local tax revenues potentially ranging from a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to a gain of more than $1 billion, according to an analysis prepared by the Legislative Analyst’s Office and Department of Finance.
The analysis also found passage would result in increased state and local government spending of billions of dollars per year. Changes in state revenues from passage would affect required state budget reserves, debt payments, and funding for schools and community colleges.
Backers say passage would boost economic activity and increase tax revenues. Opponents of minimum wage increases have said the increases would lead to higher unemployment because of higher costs for businesses.
Valid signatures from 365,880 registered voters — 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election — must be submitted by Jan. 27 to qualify the measure for the November 2016 ballot, according to Padilla, who announced the start of signature gathering on Monday.
Previous related story: County votes to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020