Minimum Wage now $9 in California

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By Nico Santos

wage increaseIf you earn minimum wage, you just got a raise. The state of California now requires employees to be paid a minimum of $9 per hour as of Tuesday.

Some say it will help the Imperial Valley in an economy still struggling to recover.

“Any spending increase goes back into the community, because it increases the spending power, I think, in the long run,” says John Renison, chairperson for the Imperial County Board of Supervisors.

It’ll rise to $10 an hour starting January 2016. President Obama has pushed to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but congress isn’t biting the bait. Some may say because there are negative effects on small businesses.

“It’s not easy to be in small business or a large business for that matter,” said Renison, “and if you’re a small business, certainly there is an adjusting period. Certainly in the long run with proper planning it’s good for everybody.”

However, many small businesses disagree. They cannot raise prices always to to pay the extra costs not only of the pay increase but also of the accompanying tax increases.

Many companies are automating the minimal wage jobs, jobs that were once entry level jobs into the job market.

Irma Gonzalez, owner of a pizzeria said the wage increase is going to hurt her business.

“Dollar-wise it’s going to add up,” she said.

Gonzalez said the lunch specials that she offers at her pizza store may be a thing of the past.

“We’re going to have to increase our prices and send it over to the consumers,” she said.