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State Minimum Wage Will Go Up To $10 By 2016

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(Photo by eyetwist via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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State lawmakers have been busy: In addition to approving driver's licenses for undocumented residents yesterday, they also agreed to raise the minimum wage from $8 to $10.

Governor Jerry Brown announced his "strong support" for the bill, which was approved by the state legislature yesterday 51-25. The state Senate approved it by 26-11.

The raise will happen in increments: First it will go up to $9 per hour on July 1, 2014, and then to $10 on January 1, 2016.

This will be the first minimum-wage hike in five years.

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"The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs,"said Governor Brown in an email statement. "This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy."

"The real winner here is the economy," said Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez via email. "A $10 hour minimum wage boosts earnings by $4,000 a year and will put $2.6 billion dollars back into the hands of workers. This is money that will be spent at grocery stores, on school supplies and invested in education, and that ultimately strengthens the recovery and ensures California's job market continues growing faster than the rest of the nation."

More than 90 percent of minimum wage workers in California are over the age of 20, and 25 percent of California children live in a household with one minimum wage-earning parent, according to the bill's supporters.

"I'm proud to author this measure on behalf of hard working families in California,"said Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville), who also authored the driver's license bill.

Not surprisingly, labor unions were for the bill while business groups opposed it, arguing that it will be raising the wage too much over too short a time, the L.A. Times reports.

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The California Chamber of Commerce labeled the bill "a job killer."

"This is an unprecedented wage hike," Jot Condie, president of the California Restaurant Association, told the Times. He predicted that California's 87,000 restaurants will end up cutting back employees' hours and reducing hiring.

California currently has the eighth-highest minimum wage in the country, according to the Times. Washington state has the highest at $9.19 an hour, followed by Oregon at $8.95.

San Francisco, by the way, has its own minimum wage, which is currently $10.55.

Some workers, including one interviewed by the Times, are still holding out for $15 per hour. Fight For 15 has called for fast-food worker strikes.

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Editor's Note: We originally used an image of an In N Out employee for this story, but the chain actually starts its workers out at a much-higher-than average $10.50 per hour. McDonalds and Taco Bell, on the other hand, are frequent targets of protesters who want the minimum wage raised. Thanks to our readers for their FB!

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