County Supervisors Consider Minimum Wage Increase

More than a year after San Jose upped its minimum wage to $10 an hour and as the conversation around pay increases for low-paid workers ramps up on a national scale, Santa Clara County is starting to look at enacting a similar measure for unincorporated parts of the region.

Supervisor Dave Cortese, who’s also running for mayor of San Jose, will lead the discussion when the Board of Supervisors meets on Tuesday.

A county ordinance comes with many more challenges than a citywide measure, Cortese notes. For one, the economy in unincorporated areas centers largely around agriculture and service jobs. And, just as business owners argued leading up to the voter-approved passage of the Measure D wage-hike, requiring employers to pay more to the bottom rung of workers will force them to give the rest of their employees a raise, too.

Proponents of a wage increase say it would help the region’s poorest residents. Opponents argue that forcing higher pay would kill jobs.

President Obama's plan to up the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour could give 16.5 million Americans a raise and lift 900,000 of them out of poverty, legislative analysts said last month. But it could also eliminate up to 500,000 jobs, the same report says.

California's minimum wage ticked up to $9 an hour this year and goes up another dollar in 2015. San Jose's wage increase in 2013 was one of the largest minimum pay jumps in the nation and continues to grow year-to-year to account for cost-of-living increases.

More from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors agenda for March 11, 2014:

  • A closer look at the contract with the San Jose Fire Department shows that the county has the authority to order a management audit of the agency. Since the city has routinely failed to meet response time standards to medical emergencies, the county has withheld payment. Cortese recently asked the department to produce a game plan to show how they plan to better response times, which the city says have been slowed because of budget cuts and staff reductions. An audit would subject the agency to a months-long investigation by Harvey M. Rose and Associates.

WHAT: Board of Supervisors meets
WHEN: 9am Tuesday
WHERE: County Government Center, 70 W. Hedding St., San Jose
INFO: Lynn Regadanz, [email protected]

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

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