LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Saturday signed the city’s minimum wage increase into law, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next five years.
The mayor joined officials Saturday afternoon at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, located in the 3900 block of Western Avenue, for the signing.
He called it the largest anti-poverty measure in the city’s history.
“Today is a major victory for our city, our communities, and working Angelenos across Los Angeles,” Garcetti said. “While our city’s economic health continues to roar back — we have the highest employment levels on record – too many Angelenos are still being left behind. Today’s minimum wage increase addresses that gap, enabling working families in LA to lift themselves out of poverty and tying our minimum wage to the cost of living to make this justice last. LA as whole will benefit from this boost: we have always prospered the most when everyone is able to spend money into our economy.”
Under the new law, the minimum wage will rise from $9 per hour to $10.50 an hour beginning in 2016. The rate will then jump to $12 in 2017; $13.25 in 2018; $14.25 in 2019; and $15 by 2020, taking place on the first of July each year.
Small businesses with 25 or fewer employees will have the increases moved back by one year.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Greg Mills spoke to Karim Webb, who was present for the signing at MLK Jr. Park. He owns Buffalo Wild Wings in Baldwin Hills and employs 90 people. He says he’s worried the wage hike may force him to cut his work force down to 60.
“The minimum wage is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing,” Webb said. “These provisions, while they are going to positively impact a lot of people, is going to make it where we employ less people, where we’re less impactful in the community in which we do business.”
A woman eating with her husband and young child at Webb’s restaurant told Mills that, “It’s not going to hurt the economy to pay the poor what they deserve.”
Other women eating at a table nearby say they are concerned that if workers are paid more customers will end up footing the bill.