LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) —The fight over minimum wage in Los Angeles could be coming to a head.
Mayor Eric Garcetti has reportedly told local business leaders that he wants to see the minimum wage increased over the next three years and could make an official announcement by Labor Day.
The current minimum wage in Los Angeles in $9 per hour. Under the plan in discussion, the minimum wage would increase to $13.25 by 2017, with the ultimate goal of reaching $15 per hour.
Garcetti believes the increase would provide necessary assistance to people trying to raise a family on a minimum-wage salary.
“It’s very hard; I have four kids to raise,” mother and minimum-wage-earner Donna Boyer said. “My mom helps me, I’m lucky, but a lot of people don’t have that. I mean, there’s a lot of times I have $3 in my bank account, and I don’t know how I would do it without her.”
Los Angeles area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gary Toebben, meanwhile, argues that increased costs will force small businesses to lay off workers or hire fewer of them.
“What we wouldn’t want is a salary increase for some people, while others lose their job as a result,” Toebben said. “We don’t believe that this will improve employment in Los Angeles.”
While it is widely expected that the mayor may make an announcement on the subject of increasing the minimum on Labor Day, Garcetti’s office did not confirm nor deny the plan.
“One of Mayor Garcetti’s top priorities is to lift Angelinos out of poverty,” spokesman Jeff Millman said. “In recent weeks, he has met with business, labor, community and faith leaders to discuss ways to help LA families and our economy thrive.”
Resident Jerry Harvell, who says he has lived on minimum wage, says that the increase is ultimately justified.
“The people that live out in the suburbs, they don’t realize the people who do their roofs, who take care of the trash, do their lawns, don’t live in those neighborhoods,” Harvell said. “(The people) who do the sewers and the infrastructure don’t live in those neighborhoods, and it is very, very, very tough to live on minimum wage.”
However, Valley Industry and Commerce Association President Stuart Waldman says that such an increase in the minimum wage will negatively impact small businesses and workers, still recovering from the recession, and creating bigger problems.
“This isn’t just about wages, this isn’t just in-and-of itself raising people up, this is tearing people down,” Waldman said. “This will destroy businesses. This will run jobs out of the city of Los Angeles, and this will impact the entire business climate of the city of LA for a generation. This needs to be stopped now.”