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Saturday, Jul 13, 2024
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How Much Pain in a Wage Gain?

Local businesses are voicing a growing concern over a possible hike in the minimum wage in the city of San Diego, according to the most recent San Diego County Business Forecast Outlook Index.

The monthly index for June was +28, which indicates a generally positive mood. However, more business owners are reporting feeling less worried about the federal Affordable Care Act, and more worried over proposals to increase the minimum wage, the report said.

This week, the San Diego City Council approved a proposal to increase the minimum wage to $11.50 an hour in phases by 2017.

The phasing would begin in January 2015 and boost the hourly wage to $9.75. In the two following years, it would rise to $10.50 and then to $11.50 by January 2017. Starting in January 2019, the minimum wage increase would be indexed to the inflation rate.

The council hasn’t decided whether to adopt the measure outright or to put it on the November ballot.

An earlier proposal sought to increase the minimum wage to $13.09 in San Diego.

State law requires that workers make at least $8 an hour. The rate is due to climb to $9 in July and $10 in 2016.

A new group formed to oppose the wage increase called the San Diego Small Business Coalition said in a news conference that the compromise measure was unacceptable as it represented a 44 percent raise over three years.

Many small businesses won’t be able to absorb that type of increase, and will be forced to raise prices and slash benefits and payroll to stay in business, the coalition said.

“Any proposal that does not include a small business exemption for businesses with 12 or fewer employees, similar to the living wage ordinance in the city of San Diego, would be a dagger to the heart of the small business community in San Diego,” said Mark Arabo, president of the Neighborhood Market Association.

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