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Mayor Vetoes San Diego Minimum Wage Increase; Council Considers Override

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announces his veto of the City Council-approved minimum wage ordinance, Aug. 8, 2014.

As expected, Mayor Kevin Faulconer vetoed San Diego's minimum wage ordinance Friday. The mayor said raising the city's minimum wage would hurt San Diego's economy.

"This ordinance weakens San Diego's ability to create and retain jobs by putting heavier burdens on small business compared to nearby cities, permanently tipping the scales to the disadvantage of San Diegans seeking employment," Faulconer said in his veto message.

Above: NBC 7's Paul Krueger tweets an image of Mayor Kevin Fualconer announcing his veto of San Diego's minimum wage ordinance, Aug. 8, 2014.

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Faulconer's Veto Message

Faulconer's Veto Message

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In a statement, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders praised the mayor's decision.

"Mayor Faulconer showed strong leadership in making this decision that protects the San Diego economy, particularly our small businesses and jobs," the former San Diego mayor said.

Sanders urged the City Council to accept the mayor's veto because the ordinance would "hurt working families, San Diego consumers, and employers."

But immediately following Faulconer's veto, Council President Todd Gloria, who introduced the measure, announced that the Council will plan a vote to override the veto.

"When 38 percent of San Diego workers don't earn enough to make ends meet, something must be done," Gloria said in a statement. "That is why the mayor's veto of this reasonable, common sense measure is disappointing."

The vote must take place within 30 calendar days, the statement said. Council is currently on August recess and is scheduled to return Sept. 8.

The City Council gave final approval to raising the minimum wage July 28. Republican council members Lorie Zapf, Scott Sherman and Mark Kersey voted against the ordinance. The six council members who favored the increase are Democrats. The council needs six votes to override the veto — the same number that passed the increase in the first place.

If the override vote succeeds, San Diego's hourly minimum wage would rise to $9.75 in January, $10.50 in 2016 and $11.50 in 2017. By January 2019, the pay scale would be indexed to inflation. It would also require employers provide workers with paid sick days.

However, Sanders said the Chamber would work to overturn the measure if the City Council did override the mayor's veto.

"As we await the Council’s decision, the Chamber, together with the business community, is prepared to proceed as necessary to continue to fight the possible minimum wage increase," he said in a statement.

The measure was originally presented as a ballot measure, meaning it would go before voters in November. However, the council opted to pass it as an ordinance July 14.

KPBS reporter Claire Trageser and City News Service contributed to this story.

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