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Councilman Will Continue To Pursue Minimum Wage Increase In San Diego

City Councilman Todd Gloria talks to KPBS in November 2012.
KPBS
City Councilman Todd Gloria talks to KPBS in November 2012.

Councilman Will Continue To Pursue Minimum Wage Increase In San Diego
San Diego Public Library Highlights Banned Books By Reading Censored Books Aloud GUEST:Todd Gloria, councilman, City of San Diego

Today on midday edition to start with a historic agreement that Will Place, California ahead of other states in the nation in terms of what workers of the bottom of the economic ladder get paid. Hiking the minimum wage has been highly controversial but finally state legislatures are ready to move on a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Earlier today I spoke with San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria about what the changes will mean and how this state deal will affect the San Diego city minimum-wage initiative. Voters will still get to vote on in June. First of all what you think of the state proposal your been working on a minimum-wage were longtime here in San Diego. What you think of this a proposal to raise the minimum wage by 2022? I really applaud the governor of our state legislative leaders and many advocates for making this possible. It's a very bold step in if it's a step in the right direction. We have seen over the last generation or so workers whose wages are just not keeping up with the cost of living in I think this is a real recognition that this is a significant challenge not just for San Diego or for California but really for our entire country. Once again California leads that's a good thing. Help us understand the difference between what is being proposed in segment of this week and what San Diego city voters will be voting on in June. Howlett affect the city initiative? They are two separate measures. Both are wedded to the idea that folks it works full time should have to live in poverty. The differences the state is at setting higher goal or higher objective of reaching $15 buys early as 2022 where's the city measure was a bit more of a compromise local businesses and envision gained two 1150 and envision gained 211 50 x 20 18. With what is been suggested by the governor and taken up by the legislature that proposal does not include additional earned sick days. The city measure includes five for workers. A slightly lower hourly rate with the inclusion of earned sick days in that. Those increases actually have a quicker pace in the state schedule. The state is anticipated getting to the final number much later. We talked with Sean Karafin of the San Diego regional Chamber of Commerce yesterday was that the local businesses are pretty worried about this wage hike. Here's what he had to say. They're going to have to look for ways to keep their doors open for a lot of businesses that means cutting benefits.cutting hours or even cutting jobs. What would you say to San Diego small business owners who are facing the decision to cut staff and benefits to be able to meet this requirement. I met with and spoke to many small business owners when we crafted our city proposal back in 2014. I understand the comments of the Chamber of Commerce on this issue. That said, many listeners know that the state's minimum wage actually increase the space January 1 towers to $10 and 12 there's certainly impacts of the dire consequences that are often countered by those who oppose raising minimum wage. I've not seen that in fact San Diego's unemployment rate of no fallen below 5% which is incredible. I predict that this will not have the negative impact that those who oppose it advertised. Maybe many positive things. The city's minimum wage measure is anticipated to ingest over quarter million dollars into the local economy that's because when workers get paid money they typically spend it and local businesses. We think that actually can have positive economic impact that are not often considered by those who are against it. Yes it would seem that people work more to spend would actually help businesses in the long run. If San Diego passes a minimum-wage initiative that is a head of the rest of the state for the next year is there a risk that you might have businesses on the border of San Diego who might just saying going to cross the border so I don't have to abide by this new law? I think that's incredibly unlikely and I think the truth of the matter is a lot of the Tylan will migrate to the city because we know that workers do want higher wagers. They need to deal with rising rental growing energy bills. I think there will be a draw for talent but interestingly when we worked on our local initiative for the last two years who made that exact point Allison as a reason to a poise our measure. I think two things that happens number one is that I can ignore knowledge that it's more expensive to live in San Diego that it is in [ Indiscernible ] that's why I strongly supported and why offered the local initiative is I think that there is a difference there and that should be reflected. Many of those opponent said that that was the wrong thing to do interestingly Allison and of those people are coming out to embrace the statewide measure that would really be universal and treat every city the same. I have to take that as another example of this being against minimum-wage increases never willing to engage in the discussion which is that more and more San Diego's find it harder to live in our city and that the travesty. All of us were raised to believe that if you work hard you don't have to live in poverty and that's not really where things are at. It's because of the fact the polls that show the about two thirds of the people do believe that it's important to raise the minimum wage that this deal has been struck. Therefore it's not going to be on the statewide ballot perhaps in November but for voters here in San Diego who see this statewide deal is there some reason why he would urge them to go ahead and vote on this anyway? Even although the statewide one may be in effect? Yes. Because there are marginal benefits for workers in the short term as I mentioned San Diego's minimum wage ordinance actually envisions increases at least a little bit higher than the state in the short term. It includes the additional paid sick days and I think that we know Dasher think everyone can agree that a mother shouldn't have to choose between working a shift and being home with her sick child. I think additionally this is really important for our democracy Allison, I think it listeners know that this measure would recommend that by group of folks who claim to be the small business coalition when in fact it was really very large corporations, big folks really outside of San Diego who paid a relatively small sum to delay the implementation of this increase. I think it not only will have a significant benefits for workers, $.50 or dollar means a whole lot to folks who are working with really tough jobs in trying to make [ Indiscernible ] in San Diego. These big corporations who really think that democracy is for sale and that's exactly what they did in this measure by voting yes on [ Indiscernible ] in June not only can you help out about a quarter of 1 million San Diego and for struggling today but San Diego's democracy is not for sale. The people who are opposed or perhaps reconsidering whether to throw a lot of money against this initiative now that the statewide settlement appears to be on the verge of happening. You have any concerns at all that it might make it harder to pass [ Indiscernible ] people might think I don't need to vote on this because the statewide settlement is there. I think that's fair. People with really see the governor [ Indiscernible ] yesterday whatever point is a mission accomplished moment. I think that it's important in San Diego to follow a path that other big cities all across the city have done LA, and San Francisco, Seattle, New York Beazer cities that have acknowledge that their cities are expensive to live in and they cannot be great if they are just cities for wealthy people. They have taken this action, San Diego should as well, we did take this action of course no referendums happened in those other city so we have to take this initial step. Is a step that's worth taking. I understand just how hard it is to make ends meet in this town that's why offered this legislation is why I'm asking folks to continue voting yes. It's an incremental addition that $.50 that dollar that will make a world of difference. The state settlement does allow for the governor to back away from the commence of the economy is going down and I believe that the city of San Diego initiative would not do that. Our initiative with the index port inflation so essentially resolve this problem for the future and not so workers after lying politicians that given the time of day and actually listen to. All of this is predicated on the belief that this economic growth and workers should share in that growth. If the economy expands minimum wage will go up by small amount. If so if the economy is not expanding our retracting it will not go up. It is a lot to a politician to make that decision is meant to reflect [ Indiscernible ] agrarian economy everybody benefits, reduce the economy, everybody stays put. Think is so much for helping us to understand the differences and what we should be thinking about before June. Is pretty certain right that the state plan will pass this week you think? I think so. I'm appearing back on [ Indiscernible ] today and everyone seems to be pretty supportive of it. I believe it will pass. I think you will see that within the next few days once it's complete we will take up this issue in June here in San Diego. Great. Thank you so much for joining us that a City Councilman Todd Gloria.

A city councilman who authored a law to raise the minimum wage in San Diego, only to see it forced to an election ballot by opponents, vowed to continue his campaign despite a state agreement announced Monday to incrementally hike pay to at least $15 an hour.

Councilman Todd Gloria pointed to a couple of differences between the deal reached in Sacramento between state officials and organized labor, and the ordinance envisioned for San Diego.

Gloria's plan, which will go before voters in the June primary election, would raise the minimum wage in San Diego to $10.50 an hour almost immediately, and bump it to $11.50 an hour on Jan. 1 of next year. Proposition I would also provide workers the ability to accrue up to five paid sick days a year.

It was approved by the City Council two years ago, but opponents in the business community collected enough petition signatures to place the issue before voters. The June election is the first since then.

It would take a few years for wages under the state agreement to reach his proposed amount in San Diego, and the agreement does not call for five paid sick days, Gloria said. The state currently requires that employers provide three sick days that workers can earn over time.

"Workers are in need of these wages now and it is important that we secure a local increase in order to help San Diegans pay for rent, food and other everyday household expenses," Gloria said.

He said the state announcement was "an affirmation of the leadership San Diego showed" with the original, aborted passage of the minimum wage increase.

Jason Roe, who led the opposition to the wage hike in San Diego, said the automatic pay increases and sick leave proposals in Gloria's proposition go beyond the state plans and would "have a pretty severe impact" on small businesses.

"This proposal makes it really difficult for small businesses to survive in this state, which is already the highest taxed state in the country," Roe said.

Under the state plan, hourly pay would rise to $10.50 on New Year's Day, $11 in 2018, $12 in 2019, and so on until $15 in 2022. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees would receive an extra year to phase-in each step of the increase.

The governor will also have the power to postpone a hike in case of negative budgetary or economic conditions.

"California is proving once again that it can get things done and help people get ahead," Gov. Jerry Brown said. "This plan raises the minimum wage in a careful and responsible way and provides some flexibility if economic and budgetary conditions change."

The state's minimum wage is currently $10 an hour.