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The Sacramento Bee reports that California Gov. Jerry Brown "signed legislation Monday raising California’s mandatory minimum to $15 an hour by 2022, casting the gradual increase over the next seven years as a "moral imperative ... The California legislation will raise the statewide minimum to $10.50 on Jan. 1 for businesses with 26 or more workers, the first of several incremental increases to $15, with future raises tied to inflation. Smaller businesses will have an additional year to phase in each increase."

Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo "signed into law a minimum wage increase that takes a two-tier approach," the New York Times writes, "setting a higher $15 per hour minimum for New York City and its environs and a lower legal minimum for less-costly areas ... In New York, the minimum wage rises to $15 per hour from its current $9 by the end of 2018 for most businesses in New York City. Commuter counties of Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester will reach $15 by the end of 2021, while the rest of the state will reach $12.50 by the end of 2020."

The Bee notes that "Brown, a fiscal moderate, had previously expressed reservations about a wage increase. But amid growing concern about income inequality in California and the national thrust of the labor-backed 'Fight for 15' campaign, his hand was forced. Public opinion polls showed strong support for increasing the state’s mandatory minimum beyond its current $10.

"The compromise Brown offered lawmakers – then celebrated with a bill-signing in Los Angeles – includes a provision allowing the governor to postpone a wage increase in the event of an economic downturn. It replaces a ballot measure that, if passed, would have raised the minimum wage to $15 by 2021, a year faster."

Interestingly, the Washington Post has a story reporting that "internal research conducted by a leading consultant for state chambers of commerce" suggests that "80 percent of respondents said they supported raising their state's minimum wage, while only eight percent opposed it."

The story notes that business leaders at the state level don't view as a minimum wage increase as being a sole priority; they would say, for example, that job creation is more important. And the Post reports that a number of chambers of commerce around the country push back against the poll, saying that its conclusions do not match the opinions of their members.

But at the very least, the Post writes, business leaders are not as united in their opposition to a minimum wage increase as some of the rhetoric would suggest.

The survey was conducted by LuntzGlobal, which is owned and run by Republican pollster Frank Luntz.
KC's View:
The argument against the minimum wage increases will be that they cost jobs, that companies will eliminate people if they have to spend this much money on wages. The argument for the increases will be that workers need to be paid a reasonable wage, and that better compensated employees will be more productive, leading to businesses that are more successful and hiring more people, not fewer.

I hope the latter is true. And I also think that high-level executives who would like to hold down minimum wages are perfectly happy to argue that they deserve to earn maximum wages ... which to my mind reflects a disconnection from the reality that the people on the front lines are often most responsible for companies' successes.