Copyright: promicrostockraw / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: promicrostockraw / 123RF Stock Photo

With Republicans taking control of the Senate, an increase in the US minimum wage ($7.25) seems unlikely anytime soon. However, California’s minimum wage stands at $9 and will increase to $10 on January 1, 2016.

On a local level, voters in Oakland approved a measure to increase its minimum wage from $9 to $12.25 effective March 2, 2015. Subsequent annual increases will be tied to the Consumer Price Index.

Not wanting to be outdone, voters in San Francisco approved further increases in its minimum wage. Currently, $10.74, the rate increases to:

  • $11.05 on January 1, 2015;
  • $12.25 on May 1, 2015;
  • $13 on July 1, 2016;
  • $14 on July 1, 2017; and
  • $15 on July 1, 2018.

Increases after that in SF will also be tied to the Consumer Price Index. This follows on the heels of LA’s adoption of a “living wage” ordinance for hotel workers.

Both Bay Area measures passed overwhelmingly. So it’s obviously a pretty popular idea. But when workers cost more in one city or state, no one should be surprised if employers look to move their businesses elsewhere.

It would be reassuring to know that someone was looking for ways to make the state and its various subdivisions more attractive to employers, which would also lead to increased wages. Because if these laws induce employers to move elsewhere, they’ll hurt most the people they’re intended to help.