Long Beach City Council votes to gradually raise minimum wage to $13

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- After debating past midnight, the Long Beach City Council voted 6-2 early Wednesday morning to gradually raise the minimum wage from $10 to $13 by 2019.

The approved motion supported by Mayor Robert Garcia would raise the minimum wage to $10.50 as of Jan. 1 2017, $12 the following year and $13 by 2019.

"For the hardworking people that are struggling day in and day out just to get by with their bills and necessities and everything to be paid off, and struggling every day, you know, it's just hard for, it's getting harder and harder for everybody," Anthony Vallecillo said.

The council also voted to commission a study to assess the impacts of the new minimum wage amounts on the economy. If the study finds the city's wage law to have had salutary effects, Long Beach's minimum wage would rise to $14 in 2020 and to $15 in 2021.

Tuesday night's meeting stretched until about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. At the beginning, it was packed with business owners and labor activists holding signs. The council listened to about two-and-a-half hours of public testimony before making a decision.

Nonprofits and small businesses with 25 employees or less have an extra year to increase their wages.

The city and county of Los Angeles have approved gradual minimum wage hikes, reaching $15 an hour by mid-2020. The current state minimum wage is $10 an hour.

City News Service contributed to this report

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