Seaside Councilwoman Kayla Jones knows what a paycheck from a minimum wage job looks like: She’s had three such jobs. The one job she had where she earned more than minimum wage – when she worked as an EMT on the East Coast – she earned $9 an hour, less than California’s current minimum wage of $10.
To help address rising costs for local residents, Jones asked City Manager Craig Malin to look into raising the minimum wage in the city. Seaside City Council will have a workshop on the matter July 20 at 5:30pm.
“I hope this helps with everyone’s standard of living,” Jones says. “We don’t have any type of rent stabilization ordinance, and with residents making $10 an hour, we have a housing crisis, and something’s got to give.”
Malin sent out a memo to the council laying out two primary options if they decide to move forward. City officials could craft an ordinance that would need council approval, or one that would be sent to voters.
Jones favors the latter: “I don’t want business owners to feel like they’re being ambushed, I want them, and the whole community, to have a say.”
Also to consider: What to set the wage at? Would it affect all businesses?
All options will be discussed, and Jones’ vision is for a $15-per-hour minimum that would only be in place for businesses – and not nonprofits – with 26 or more employees.
By state law, the minimum wage will continue rising in increments every year to reach $15 an hour by 2023 (though the governor has the power to delay the raises). The workshop will study options for getting ahead of the state.
Malin says he’s looked at 22 studies on the minimum wage, 21 of which show local economies improved after increases, though they occurred in already affluent areas – meaning correlation might not mean causation.
“But the general consensus seems to be increasing minimum wage increases the wealth of a community and does not harm businesses,” he says. “What’s not completely clear: What is that [wage]?”