State Controller Betty Yee Endorses Initiative to Raise CA’s Minimum Wage

[Oct. 21, 2015] LOS ANGELES – California State Controller Betty Yee is the first statewide elected official to endorse a ballot initiative to gradually raise California’s minimum wage to $15, and joins San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and more than 100 organizations, small businesses and other elected officials in endorsing the measure for the November 2016 ballot.

“This ballot measure will improve the lives of millions of Californians who work hard every day yet struggle to put food on the table, clothes on their back and a roof over their heads,” said Yee, the state’s chief fiscal officer. “By increasing the purchasing power of California’s working families, the Fair Wage Act will boost consumer spending, raising business activity and strengthening our economy.”

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, which is sponsoring the measure, has surpassed the 366,000 signatures needed to qualify the initiative and plans to collect an additional 235,000 that must be submitted to the California Secretary of State’s office before Jan. 27, 2016.

The Fair Wage Act of 2016 would raise California’s minimum wage to $11 in 2017 and then gradually increase it a dollar a year until it reaches $15 in 2021. Once the minimum wage reaches $15, it will automatically go up each year to match the cost of living. California’s minimum wage is currently $9 an hour and is set to rise to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016.

According to a recent Field Poll, 68 percent of registered California voters support the initiative. It would raise wages for 3.3 million Californians.

Here are some facts about the minimum wage in California:

  • A full-time worker making the minimum wage in California earns less than $19,000 a year;
  • 3 million Californians earn less than $15 an hour;
  • 8 million people in California earn the minimum wage, including 200,000 who are older than 55;
  • More than half of minimum wage workers in California are women;
  • 95 percent of low-wage workers in California are adults who are at least 20-years-old; and half are over 30.
  • More than two million children live in poverty in California.

Paid for by Lift Up California, Sponsored by Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West, A Coalition of Non-Profit and Labor Organizations. Major funding by The Fairness Project and Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West.

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