Minimum Wage: Small Biz Makes Plea, Council Overrides Veto

Effective Jan. 1, approximately 172,000 San Diegans will get an increase to $9.75 per hour

San Diego City Councilmembers voted Monday to override a mayoral veto on a minimum wage increase despite last-minute pleas from small business owners and other opponents.

Opponents of the ordinance argued higher minimum wages would lead to higher prices, less full-time employees and more lay-offs.

CEO of the San Diego County Chamber of Commerce Jerry Sanders said it's important for City Council members to protect San Diego jobs.

"We're not here today opposed to a wage increase, we're here today urging city leaders to allow the 25-percent increase the state just implemented last month to take effect rather than increasing it to 44-percent with automatic increases annually," said Sanders.

Less than two hours later, City Council members voted 6-2 pushing the minimum wage increase through despite the Aug. 8 veto by Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Effective Jan. 1, the proposed ordinance will give approximately 172,000 San Diegans an increase to $9.75 per hour.

Through the proposal, 279,000 will have the opportunity to earn up to five sick days per year.

Already since the state's minimum wage hike some businesses have bumped up prices and stopped accepting coupons.

At the same time supporters of earned sick leave and higher minimum wages urged council members to override the veto.

They argue that nearly 200,000 San Diegans who are struggling to make ends meet would benefit from higher wages and even more from earned sick days.

Student Viviana Laguna works while going to college. She said her entire family gets paid minimum wage.

"We're not asking for riches," she said. "We're just asking for the basic things."

Councilmembers Scott Sherman (District 7) and Mark Kersey (District 5) voted against the measure.

The minimum wage will increase to $10.50 on January 1, 2016 and to $11.50 on January 1, 2017, with indexing to inflation starting in 2019.

Opponents of the minimum wage increase have said they will collect signatures this week to get a referendum on the ballot allowing the voters of San Diego decide.

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