LA minimum wage hike proposal sparks debate

Thursday, August 28, 2014
LA minimum wage hike proposal sparks debate
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Some say a proposed minimum wage hike for L.A. is a boost people need, but others say it will force businesses out of town.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- On the streets of Los Angeles, it's easy to find support for an increase in the minimum wage.

Currently, minimum wage in the city is $9 an hour, the same as California's minimum wage. That's $1.75 more than the federal minimum wage. But for many, that's simply not enough.

Now there is word Mayor Eric Garcetti is working on a plan that would increase L.A.'s minimum wage to $13.25 an hour over the next three years.

Officially, the mayor's office won't comment on the proposal. In a statement, spokesman Jeff Millman said only that:

"One of Mayor Garcetti's top priorities is to lift Angelenos out of poverty. In recent weeks he has met with business, labor, community and faith leaders to discuss ways to help L.A. families and our economy thrive."

While many are in favor of an increase, some say it could damage L.A.'s economic climate.

"It's going to hurt everyone in the city because it's going to cost jobs," said Stuart Waldman, chair of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association. The group represents more than 400 area businesses. "If we want to put money in the economy, you don't do that by raising the wages for entry level jobs, you do that by bringing good jobs in the city."

Maria Elena Durazo feels differently. Durazo is secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, represents 600,000 workers through 300 different unions.

"These are not entry level jobs only, they are not for people for just a few months until they prove themselves," said Durazo. "We applaud the mayor for raising this as an issue, for showing his intent to raise the minimum wage within the city of Los Angeles."

Garcetti is expected to make a formal announcement on the proposed increase on Monday, which happens to be Labor Day.