SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s minimal wage will leap to $15.50 per hour subsequent yr, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration introduced Thursday, a rise triggered by hovering inflation that can profit about 3 million employees.
Thursday, in a preview of his upcoming price range proposal, Newsom doubled down on his plan to ship as much as $800 checks to automobile homeowners to offset this yr’s record-high gasoline costs regardless of opposition from Democrats within the Legislature. And he revealed a brand new proposal to ship at the least $1,000 checks to 600,000 hospital and nursing house employees in recognition of their harmful work all through the pandemic.
“We’re nonetheless total having a really sturdy financial restoration within the state from the COVID-19 recession,” California Division of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer stated. “However it’s clear that we face lots of headwinds: gasoline costs stay excessive, meals costs are excessive due to inflation.”
California lawmakers voted to extend the minimal wage to $15 per hour in 2016, however the improve was phased in over a number of years. As we speak, the minimal wage is $15 per hour for corporations with 25 or extra employees and $14 per hour for corporations with 25 or fewer workers.
The legislation says the minimal wage should improve to $15.50 per hour for everybody if inflation elevated by greater than 7% between the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years. Thursday, the California Division of Finance stated they venture inflation for the 2022 fiscal yr — which ends June 30 — might be 7.6% larger than the yr earlier than, triggering the rise.
Official inflation figures will not be closing till this summer season. However the Newsom administration believes the expansion might be greater than sufficient to set off the automated improve.
California has about 3 million minimal wage employees, in response to a conservative estimate from the state Division of Finance. The rise within the minimal wage might be about $3 billion, or lower than 0.1% of the $3.3 trillion in private earnings Californians are projected to earn.
California Division of Finance Director Keely Martin Bosler stated the rise might trigger costs to leap for eating places, which have low revenue margins. However total, she stated the minimal wage improve is “anticipated to have a really minimal impression on total inflation within the state’s economic system.”
The rise will impression smaller corporations essentially the most, which is able to see the minimal wage leap $1.50 in January. Kerry Jackson, a fellow on the conservative-leaning Pacific Analysis Institute’s Middle for California Reform, stated the rise might trigger some workers at smaller corporations to work fewer hours.
“It could be very painful for them,” he stated.
Inflation has been an issue in all places, as shopper costs jumped 8.3% nationally final month from a yr in the past. A labor scarcity all through the pandemic has prompted many corporations to extend pay generally past the minimal wage simply to draw and retain employees.
In California, common gasoline costs hit a document excessive in March of $5.91 per gallon. Newsom and Democratic legislative leaders have pledged to return a few of the states’ record-breaking price range surplus to taxpayers. However thus far, regardless of being from the identical political get together, they have not agreed on the way to do it.
Newsom’s plan would ship as much as $800 checks to automobile homeowners — $400 per automobile for a max of two vehicles per proprietor — plus one other $750 million to provide everybody free rides on public transportation for 3 months.
Democratic leaders within the Legislature have rejected that plan, as an alternative favoring one that may ship $200 checks to low-to-moderate earnings taxpayers and their dependents.
“Senate Democrats don’t consider a rebate tied to automobile possession does the job,” Senate President Professional Tempore Toni Atkins stated. “That plan leaves out non-car homeowners, together with low earnings and aged Californians, who’re additionally impacted by the present excessive prices of shopper items and are additionally deserving of aid.”
Republicans favor quickly suspending the state’s gasoline tax, which at 51.5 cents per gallon is the second highest within the nation. However Newsom and Democratic leaders have rejected that plan, arguing it is higher to ship aid on to taxpayers.
Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Staff West, stated staffing issues at hospitals and nursing houses have solely worsened as employees left the business in droves through the pandemic “due to elevated well being dangers, emotional and psychological stress, and overwork.”
“These employees have been on the entrance traces all through the COVID pandemic,” Bosler stated. “Additionally they are struggling very crucial retention points and shortages and we hope that further fee will assist to deal with these points.”
Newsom additionally proposed new spending on Thursday to $2.7 billion to completely fund the state’s rental help program, including one other $1.2 billion to a fund that helps folks pay their utility payments, $439 million to quickly droop the tax on diesel gas and $157 million to waive youngster care charges for low-income households.
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