A Los Angeles City Council committee on Tuesday called for an independent study of two proposals to raise the minimum wage, delaying consideration of a wage hike until at least early next year.
The council’s economic development committee voted to commission an outside study of both Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s proposal to raise the minimum wage for workers in the city to $13.25 an hour by 2017 and a proposal from six councilmembers to further hike the wage to $15.25 an hour by 2019. The current statewide minimum wage is $9 an hour.
The study is to be completed by Feb. 1, after which the committee will once again take up the two proposals.
The council committee ordered the study to examine the underlying economic rationale for raising the wage and the impacts a series of wage hikes would have on job creation, hours worked and the overall economy. It will also consider the pros and cons of exempting nonprofits and some small businesses.
“Today, we move one step closer to helping hundreds of thousands of local residents rise above poverty,” committee chair Curren Price said. “As a former small business owner, I know the challenges that lie ahead, but I also see the potential for gain. Today we only laid the foundation for this important policy; much discussion lies ahead that will no doubt include community input.”
Several local business groups have called for a comprehensive study before any action is taken to raise the minimum wage. They contend that in enacting previous hikes in worker wages, the city downplayed negative impacts, such as workers losing their jobs or having their hours cut. The business groups’ focus will now turn to the economic consulting firm to be chosen in coming weeks and whether it will produce an unbiased study.
A similar study released in February from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office looked at the impact of raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from the current $7.25. It found that while the hike would help lift 900,000 people nationwide out of poverty, it would result in 500,000 other people losing their jobs.
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