Nothing was bigger in City Council President Todd Gloria’s list of progressive goals for San Diego than his determination to put an increase to the minimum wage in San Diego on the November ballot.
When I first heard about this idea, months ago, it seemed it might just be a mirror of the state’s plan to increase the minimum wage in 2016 — maybe just enforce it more quickly than the state planned.
But it appears to be much more bold.
Gloria said last night that the state plan is not enough. Money quote:
No one who works full-time should live in poverty. According to the Center on Policy Initiatives, 28 percent of full-time, year-round employees earned less than the $30,000, which is what is needed to live self-sufficiently in San Diego. A full-time minimum-wage job in San Diego pays about half that amount.
Although California’s minimum wage is scheduled to increase in 2016, that translates into an annual salary of less than $21,000, which is simply not enough in a city with a high a cost of living like ours.
He didn’t lay out the specifics but a minimum wage that would translate to $30,000 would be about $14.50 an hour.
Gloria’s spokeswoman, Katie Keach, said they hadn’t landed on a figure but didn’t shoot down $14.50 an hour: “I’m quite certain a specific amount hasn’t been set and research continues on that. Your estimate doesn’t sound far-fetched considering the context of the speech last night,” she told me in an email.
The minimum wage in California is $8 an hour. The state plans to raise it to $9 this year and $10 in 2016.
If the city of San Diego goes from $8 to $14.50, it would be an increase of 81 percent.
A conservative billionaire is helping lead a separate push to accelerate the statewide increase up to $12 an hour by 2016.
A minimum wage above $14 would rival jurisdictions everywhere. Voters in SeaTac, the city between Seattle and Tacoma that is mostly composed of the airport, recently approved a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour.