California lawmakers weigh nation’s highest entry level wage

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California state lawmakers are poised to enact the nation’s highest statewide minimum wage, with gradual increases to $15 by 2022.

Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders are promoting the boost not only as a matter of economic justice, but as an example to a nation struggling with a growing gap between rich and poor.

Opponents say Thursday’s planned votes in the Assembly and Senate will further harm California’s already poor business climate.

Democrats need only majority votes to send SB3 to Brown, and they control majorities in each legislative chamber.

Under the bill, the state’s minimum wage would reach $15 an hour by January 2022, starting with a boost from $10 to $10.50 next year.

Businesses with 25 or fewer employees would have an extra year to comply.