City Beat

Repeal of Sacramento minimum wage hike sought in wake of state action

Jerry Brown: Raising minimum wage moral, though ‘may not make sense’

The Democratic California governor signed legislation gradually raising statewide minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Up Next
The Democratic California governor signed legislation gradually raising statewide minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Two Sacramento City Council members want the city’s newly approved increase in the minimum wage repealed after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill this week enacting larger statewide hikes.

Following Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, Councilmen Jay Schenirer and Eric Guerra requested that a repeal of the minimum wage be brought before the council for a vote in the coming weeks. The city increase – approved in October – would gradually increase the minimum wage to $12.50 by 2020.

The state bill will increase the rate to $10.50 an hour on Jan. 1 for larger businesses and $11 an hour in 2018 – the same increases approved by the City Council. But the state’s minimum wage will increase at a higher rate beginning in 2019 and will hit $15 an hour by 2022.

“One of our main goals was to move the state into doing something that was statewide,” said Schenirer, who co-chaired a task force appointed by Mayor Kevin Johnson that ultimately proposed the city increases. Schenirer requested a debate on repealing the city rate “so we can be in line with the rest of the state.”

Guerra echoed Schenirer’s request.

Proponents of a local ballot measure seeking to gradually increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020 have said they were waiting for the governor to sign the state bill before deciding whether to end their effort. It was unclear Wednesday whether that campaign had decided to stop gathering signatures for that ballot measure.

Schenirer said it is his understanding the state bill would trump the city ordinance because the minimum wages approved by the governor are equal to or higher than the city’s increased rates each year.

He also said he is not concerned about a clause in the state bill that allows the governor to postpone statewide increases during economic downturns. The city’s ordinance included yearly analysis by the City Council of the economic impacts of the local wage increase and allowed the council to alter the increases, a provision similar in intent to the governor’s clause.

All 26 Democrats in the Senate voted in favor of Senate Bill 3, which raises the California minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis

Related stories from Sacramento Bee