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Minimum wage hike draws fire
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Small businesses leaders and Republican lawmakers were among those who condemned Gov. Jerry Brown's $15 per hour minimum wage announcement on Monday.

The current minimum wage in California is $10 an hour. Brown wants to raise the hourly rate to $15 by 2022 by increasing it 50 cents annually for two years and then $1 per year for four years. Fast-food workers pushed for the increase, which will bring the minimum wage to the highest rate in the country.

"Today Governor Brown and legislative leadership demonstrated a disturbingly clear disregard for the voice of small businesses in California," said Tom Scott, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Business/California. "At his press event, Governor Brown claimed he and legislative leadership listened to and considered the small business perspective in crafting this proposal. NFIB has yet to hear from Governor Brown, Senate Pro Tem De Leon, or Speaker Rendon. It is concerning that in the 21st Century we are witnessing dark closed-door deals with no public input or transparency."

FIB/CA, the largest small business association in California, represents 22,000 dues-paying small business and over 500,000 employees.

Scott said that two months ago Brown opposed a $15 minimum wage on the grounds that it would have devastating fiscal consequences on both the public and private sectors.

"Although the governor appears to have changed his opinion, he cannot change the facts: a reckless 50 percent hike in the minimum wage would have deep negative consequences."

He predicts businesses will be forced to cut jobs and raise prices on consumers.

Board of Equalization Member George Runner also condemned the plan, saying "Contrary to conventional wisdom, this dramatic wage hike won't hurt millionaires and billionaires. It will hurt lower and middle class Californians, especially those who live in inner cities and rural areas. Entry-level and low-skilled workers, including young people, will find it more difficult to find jobs, pay for childcare, and eat out. Employers will hire fewer workers and instead turn to automation.

"In a state as economically and culturally diverse as California, it's a shame that our elected officials don't realize that a one-size-fits-all approach to combating poverty won't work in our state. Not every city is San Francisco."

Democrats and union officials praised the plan, which would raise the pay of about 6.5 million California workers.

Numerous business owners say the move helps no one because prices will go up for all and jobs will be cut.