Sacramento offers increase in minimum wage

Discussions over increasing the minimum wage continue with the Income Inequality Taskforce, appointed by Mayor Kevin Johnson, and comprised of local business owners, labor force and nonprofit leaders. They have been researching the proposed minimum wage increase for the Sacramento area. One of the minimum wage increases proposed is in small yearly increments: $10 in 2016, $10.50 in 2017, $11 in 2018, $11.75 in 2019 and $12.50 in 2020.

The wage is being opposed by several business and community leaders, saying that the wage increase needs to be more than that, wanting the total to increase a cap out at $15 an hour by 2020. There are several exemptions to the increase, such as allowing small business owners to include workers tips in the increase and for nonprofits, small businesses, student employees and interns to be excluded from it.

According to a recent report published by the United Way, a family of four needs to earn $50,595 in Sacramento County in order to pay for the basic costs associated with housing, food, childcare, transportation and health care. Meanwhile, two full-time minimum-wage workers earn $37,440. In Sacramento County, 24 percent of all wage-earners earn less than $10 per hour, which puts many families in the poverty bracket.

In recent talks with city council leaders, Johnson stated in an LA Times interview, that the proposed deal is a “win-win for Sacramento.”

Included in the task force researching the increase is City Councilman Jay Schenirer and Elizabeth Landsberg of Western Center on Law & Poverty with Landsberg’s group, who are co-sponsoring the proposal to increase the state minimum wage to $13.

“Personally, I think if you have two working spouses and they [make] under the cost of living in their area, that just doesn’t make sense to me,” Schenirer said, according to the LA Times.

Workers in the Sacramento Area would see an average raise of $3,200 per year over time with the $13 an hour bump.

“Any increase in the minimum wage will affect businesses, especially if it’s targeted at just one area of our region,” said Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce CEO Peter Tateishi, to LA Times. “It really does put sand in the gears and say one city is going to be anti-competitive in the sense that they’re going to have to charge higher wages if you’re in the city boundaries of Sacramento, versus the county, versus other cities in the region. We just don’t think that’s a smart proposal right now, if it were to go forward.”

The task force is also finding opposition from Gov. Jerry Brown’s finance officials as well, saying they believe the increases will hurt California’s economy according to the Los Angeles Times.

Some cities have taken it upon themselves without having to be told and have raised the minimum wage themselves to help ease the cost of living in California, with San Francisco being the leader due to the cost of living there being so high.

The Labor leaders in Sacramento have stated that they will propose the plan go onto the next ballot unless some sort of agreement can be reached. The mayor’s office has not responded to inquiries regarding the Task Force or the wage increase proposition.


Implemented minimum wages in the state and major California cities so far:

State – currently $9, going up to $10 in January 2016

San Francisco – $12.25, up to $15 in 2018

Oakland – $12.25 (To be implemented immediately)

Richmond – $9.60, up to $12.30 in  2017

San Diego – $9.75, up to $11.50 in 2017