California voters could, in 2024, decide if the state’s minimum wage should increase to $18 per hour.
California’s minimum wage is already set to increase to $15.50 for all workers in 2023 (50 cents more than initially planned due to inflation). But the initiative would bump it further to $18 by 2026.
The Secretary of State’s Office said supporters gathered more than enough valid signatures to make it eligible for the general election ballot in November 2024.
The Living Wage Act effort has been led by entrepreneur Joe Sanberg, a Southern California native who has invested in start-ups like Aspiration.com and Blue Apron. An anti-poverty advocate, Sanberg mulled a 2020 presidential bid and founded CalEITC4Me, an outfit dedicated to informing workers about the California Earned Income Tax Credit.
A similar effort to place this measure on the 2022 ballot was unsuccessful as not enough signatures could be verified ahead of the deadline.
But last week, the Secretary of State’s Office said Sanberg’s Initiative No. 1936 had filed more than 685,000 valid signatures and was eligible for the November 2024 ballot. The secretary of state will certify the initiative for the ballot in June 2024 unless it is withdrawn by the proponent.
“California voters have been clear: People working full time should be able to afford life’s basic needs,” Sanberg said in a recent statement about the overall effort. “Californians simply cannot afford to support a family on the current minimum wage — which amounts to just $31,200 a year for someone working full-time. Raising the minimum wage in the Golden State is a moral imperative.”
Sanberg has said an $18 minimum wage would give $6,240 more per year to more than 5 million California workers.
A living wage calculation for Orange County, compiled annually by MIT, suggested one adult with no children should earn $24.92 per hour to be able to support themself. A living wage for one working adult with one child in Orange County is $43.69, whereas for two working adults with one child it’s $25.89.
Cities and counties are able to enact their own minimum wage rates, including higher amounts than the state level.
Last week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an ordinance setting a $25 per hour minimum wage for health care workers in the city. This new minimum wage rate covers all private-sector employees who work in hospitals, dialysis clinics and integrated health systems.
The minimum wage rate in Los Angeles, effective July 1, is $16.04.
The Secretary of State’s Office also said a ballot measure to increase the tax on personal incomes over $5 million to fund pandemic detection and prevention efforts is eligible for the 2024 ballot.
Meanwhile, in the upcoming general election this year, voters will be tasked with deciding myriad measures, from enshrining abortion rights in the state constitution to legalizing online sports betting and more.
Source: Orange County Register