Updated Tuesday, June 23 – 3 pm
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today postponed a vote on whether to move ahead with an increase in the minimum wage, saying they want more information about the possible impacts of such a hike on businesses.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl is calling on her colleagues to support the drafting of an ordinance raising the county’s minimum wage incrementally over the next five years, reaching $15 by 2020.
The proposal would mirror the minimum wage hike recently approved by the city of Los Angeles, and Kuehl said the county’s would “complement” the city ordinance.
Some of her fellow supervisors, however, said they were concerned about a report prepared for the county by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation on the possible impacts of a wage increase. Even Kuehl said she had concerns about the overall report, which was released Friday.
Supervisor Mike Antonovich said he was disappointed the report did not outline the possible effects of a wage increase on nonprofits. He also said he wanted information about the effects of a wage increase on businesses that will be operating across the street from others without the same salary requirements.
He also suggested that some large businesses — such as Magic Mountain theme park — could be annexed into other cities to avoid paying the higher wages, costing the county tax dollars.
The board agreed to postpone the discussion until July 21.
In the meantime, however, the board heard input from a variety of stakeholders, including minimum-wage workers, business owners, business associations and even Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who urged to board to move ahead with the wage hike.
“We must end poverty wages throughout our county,” Garcetti said. “You are the second-largest city in your unincorporated areas. Over a million people depend on you to be the mayors of your town. Our message today to the 2.7 million people of Los Angeles County who live in poverty — I hope that help is on the way. We must end poverty wages in Los Angeles.”
Kuehl’s proposed county wage hike would — like the city’s — include a series of increases over five years, beginning July 1, 2016, and reaching $15 an hour by 2020. The wage would go to $10.50 in July 2016, $12 in July 2017, $13.25 in July 2018 and $14.25 in July 2019. Like the city increase, Kuehl’s proposal would delay the increase by one year for businesses with fewer than 26 employees.
After 2020, the wage would be adjusted annually based on the cost of living.
Kuehl said earlier she was making the proposal because “many county residents, despite working full time, earn too little in wages to cover even the bare necessities, such as safe housing, healthy food, adequate clothing and basic medical care.”