Brown Backs Increase in California Minimum Wage to $10 an Hour

California’s minimum wage would increase 25 percent to $10 an hour under amended legislation that Governor Jerry Brown announced he would sign over the objections of business groups.

The bill would raise the basic minimum rate, now $8 an hour, to $9 in July 2014 and $10 in January 2016. The proposal passed the Assembly in May and is awaiting a vote in the Senate. Both chambers are controlled by Brown’s fellow Democrats.

“The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs,” Brown said yesterday in a statement. “This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy.”

California last boosted the minimum wage in 2008, when Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor. Business groups, such as the California Chamber of Commerce, have said the bill would stifle job growth. Only eight U.S. states, including California, pay $8 per hour or more.

The original bill included automatic future increases based on cost of living and would have reached $10 in 2018. The Senate has until tomorrow to pass the legislation.

Congress last voted to raise the federal minimum wage in 2007 and President Barack Obama’s call to raise it to $9 an hour from $7.25 has gone nowhere with lawmakers.

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