Long Beach Raises Minimum Wage To $13 An Hour

Long Beach's minimum wage will gradually increase from $10 to $13 an hour by 2019.

Just after midnight on Wednesday, the Long Beach City Council voted 6-2 in favor of the minimum wage increase, according to NBC Los Angeles. The plan for the increase is $10.50 an hour by Jan. 1, 2017, then $12 on Jan. 1, 2018 and $13 on Jan. 1, 2019. For nonprofits and businesses with 25 employees or fewer, their schedules will be a bit different; they'll get to delay the hikes by one year for each of the scheduled increases.

As for the next steps, the approved proposal still needs to be written as an ordinance and then approved again by the city council, according to KPCC.

The city council also agreed to commission a study on the minimum wage hike, to see if it is indeed beneficial to Long Beach. If the increase proves successful, then the city council would consider increasing the minimum wage to $14 in 2020 and $15 in 2021.

This follows Los Angeles County's decision last July to incrementally increase the county's minimum wage to $15 by 2020.

Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal, a proponent of the wage increase, said at the council meeting, "The gap continues to grow between the wealthy and the poor, and we continue to deal with the impacts of a growing class of residents living in poverty," according to Press-Telegram.

The city council listened to business owners and labor activists debate about the minimum wage increase for about two-and-a-half hours on Tuesday night, going into early Wednesday morning. Business owners have argued that the increase would hurt business, forcing them to increase prices and to lay off employees. Labor activists spoke up to challenge any possible exemptions from business owners. They also were rallying for a minimum wage increase to $15.