SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) – California legislators and labor unions have reached a tentative agreement that will take the state’s minimum wage from $10 to $15 an hour, a state senator said, a move that would make for the largest statewide minimum in the nation by far.

“This is not a done deal,” Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, told The Associated Press on Saturday. “Everyone’s been operating in good faith and we hope to get it through the Legislature.”

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Leno said if an agreement is finalized, it would go before the Legislature as part of his minimum-wage bill that stalled last year.

The Los Angeles Times, which first reported the deal, said the wage would rise to $10.50 in 2017, to $11 an hour in 2018, and one dollar per year to take it to $15 by 2022. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees would have an extra year to comply.

At $10 an hour, California already has one of the highest minimum wages in the nation along with Massachusetts. Only Washington, D.C., at $10.50 per hour is higher. The hike to $15 would make it the highest statewide wage in the nation by far, though raises are in the works in other states that might change by the time the plateau is reached in 2022.

It’s almost been a year since Sheila Fitzpatrick last worked after being diagnosed with leukemia in 2015 and had to quit her job. With the proposed minimum wage increase, she has a new sense of hope.

“We just need to get caught up with the cost of living. I think it’s due,” said Sheila.

Esmeralda Medina is concerned a minimum wage hike won’t solve any problems and says, “The living cost is going to go up, everything is going to go up and it’s just going to plateau. We are going to be in the same place now.”

After a three-year long battle with labor unions, Governor Brown is prepared to announce an agreement to gradually raise the state’s minimum wage each year, capping it at $15 an hour by 2022.

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According to a recent State poll, 81 percent of California voters say the gap between the rich and poor is widening, and 58 percent of voters around the country believe the government should do more to bridge that gap.

California Consumers Against Higher Prices opposes the hike, and issued this statement on Sunday: “If this overreaching deal is passed it will result in devastating impacts to family-run businesses, education, working families and more.”

But for Sheila, who is also a mother, the possibility of any increase is invaluable.

“It helps with gas, I can get my son from across town — just that little bit helps,” she says.

 

A spokesman for Brown, Evan Westrup, did not immediately respond to the Associated Press’ request for comment.

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