Richmond May Soon Have California's Highest Minimum Wage

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Minimum wage significantly increased in Richmond after the city council approved a proposal to increase local wages. Monte Francis reports. (Published Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014)

    Richmond may soon have the highest minimum wage in California.

    The city council late Tuesday approved a proposal to increase minimum wage to $12.30 an hour.

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    Next year, the city's current $8 an hour minimum wage would increase to $9.60. In 2016, minimum wage would increase to $11.52 an hour.

    The new $12.30 an hour minimum wage would take effect in 2017, with cost of living increases after that.

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    Council members during Tuesday's meeting heard from many residents in support of increasing local wages.

    "I have bills. I have kids. My schedule's tight, so I need a good-paying job," resident Yadira Gonzalez said.

    But some fear the increase in minimum wages would drive businesses out of town.

    "Why would we think they could stay in business and why would we think they would stay in Richmond?" asked resident Don Gosney.

    Richmond is not the only Bay Area city moving to increase its minimum wage.

    A proposed ballot measure in November would raise Oakland's minimum wage to $12.25 an hour.

    Minimum wage statewide is slated to go up to $9 an hour on July 1, and $10 an hour in 2016.

    In San Jose, minimum wage is $10.15. San Francisco currently has the highest minimum wage in the nation at $10.74.

    The federal minimum wage is $7.25.

    Gonzalez said a higher wage would make a world of difference in her life.

    "That would mean I would spend more time with my kids and still be able to pay the bills," she said.

     

    Chris Roberts contributed to this report.