LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP)- Gov. Jerry Brown has put his signature on a bill that will hike California’s minimum wage to $10 an hour within three years.
The legislation signed Wednesday will raise the current minimum of $8 an hour to $9 on July 1, 2014, and then to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016.
It’s the first increase in California’s minimum wage in six years.
Brown was in Los Angeles Wednesday morning to sign the bill. At noon, he appeared at Oakland’s Cypress Mandela Training Center, which offers job training programs for Bay Area residents.
“The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs,” Brown said in a statement. “This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy.”
The bill, authored by state Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, was amended earlier this month to move up the schedule for the wage bump.
The state’s last minimum wage increase was in 2008, when it rose by 50 cents to $8 per hour.
The change comes amid a national debate over whether it is fair to pay fast-food workers, retail clerks and others wages so low that they often have to work second or third jobs.
Democrats have said the bill by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, would help workers left behind during the recent recession.
“It simply gives hardworking Californians the dignity and respect to provide for their families with their own hard-earned wages,” Alejo said in arguing for the bill before his Assembly colleagues earlier this month.
Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, said raising the minimum wage will stimulate the economy by giving lower-wage workers more money to spend.
“They’re not going to put it into a hedge fund,” he said.
But Republican lawmakers said it would do the opposite, encouraging businesses to cut jobs and automate.