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State Senator Pushing For $13 Minimum Wage Before First Increase

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Before the first part of a minimum wage increase takes effect in California, one state lawmaker wants to push it to $13 an hour.

This summer will see the minimum wage increase to $9 an hour, but state Sen. Mark Leno wants to push it even higher. That’s a move labor groups say is a long time coming.

“The Leno bill would be an additional further step to help lift more workers out of poverty and generate the type of economic activity we need to bring the state back,” said Mitch Seaman with the California Labor Federation.

By July, those making $9 an hour and working 40 hours per week would be taking home $301 after taxes. Under the Leno bill, that same employee would earn $422 a week—$121 more for the same job.

What this is is a big step in the right direction, but it still doesn’t get us to where we would be had we kept up with everything we contributed back into the economy as workers,” Seaman said.

But businesses have a different take. A $4 an hour increase for employees at Harv’s Car Wash may mean fewer hours for the dozens of minimum-wage workers.

“We absolutely try and control our labor the best that we can,” said Delbert Stabb.

Like the car wash, coffee shop Chicory in downtown will feel the burden. Owner Sharon Chavoor-Landis says she is already operating on a razor-thin margin.

“We wouldn’t fire them, but we give them fewer hours or different hours,” she said. “Work it that way, and then try to raise prices maybe.”

She says she wants to give her employees more money, but if wages get to $13 an hour, it may not be worth staying open.

“There is only so much money we can lose, and then it’s not cost-effective to run the coffee shop at all,” she said.

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