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Assembly Approves Minimum Wage Increase

Aired 5/31/13 on KPBS News.

California’s minimum wage would go up for the first time in six years under a bill passed by the state Assembly Thursday.

Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo's measure would raise the minimum wage from $8 an hour to $9.25 over the next three years - with cost-of-living adjustments each year after that.

"It's been six long years - six long years - since we've raised the minimum wage here in California," Alejo said. "It's been locked in at $8 an hour, when we know the price of rent, of clothing, of food, has all gone up during that time."

Republican Assemblyman Donald Wagner recognized supporters' compassion but argued the measure would hurt California businesses and cost the state jobs.

"This bill takes us the wrong way and it flies in the face of economic reality. You may wish it were different, but it isn't," Wagner said. "You can't legislate on your hopes. You can't legislate on what you'd like to see. You've got to legislate in the real world."

The measure initially was six votes short of passage, with a third of the Democratic caucus abstaining. It eventually passed with three votes to spare and now moves to the Senate.

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