Guest Opinion: Business Leaders Support Minimum Wage: A Fair Shake Is All They Ask

Published : Monday, February 11, 2019 | 5:53 AM

Contrary to the current polarizing rhetoric, an increase in the minimum wage is supported by Pasadena business leaders as well as by many workers. Without exception, all the business leaders we have spoken to and met with support a minimum wage increase. The issue before the Pasadena City Council is how such an increase can be implemented in a fair and nonpartisan way.

Former Governor Brown and the State Legislature passed the initiative to implement a $15 minimum wage increase fully by 2022 for small business and by 2023 for larger companies. Local business leaders support such an implementation. This extended period to 2022/23 allows businesses to conform to codified state law while protecting workers’ jobs. From other local large suburban cities, like Glendale (which leans more liberal), to small cities like La Cañada Flintridge (which leans more conservative), each has decided they will follow the State schedule rather than implement their own timelines. This is not a partisan issue, but rather an issue that has a bi-partisan solution. Statewide and in the surrounding cities, both sides of the political spectrum have embraced former Governor Brown’s schedule. In order to stay competitive in the region, Pasadena should, too.

Our nonpartisan Business Leaders for Better Government wants workers to receive increased pay, have job protection, and foster a safe work environment. At the same time, we want the government to promote and sustain business growth, not prohibit it. Allowing businesses the time to fine tune their business plans, re-work their schedules and budget for wage increases over an appropriate period protects local workers, protects business investments in the community and most importantly, assures a consistent revenue stream for the city. Businesses and workers both stand a chance to win this policy discussion if the City follows the reasonable State guidelines.

Discourse about political issues, debates and disagreements has blurred the boundaries of courtesy and civility. Packing the City Council Chambers with discontent, an unwillingness to listen to each other, only enforces the polarization. Everyone wants the same thing — businesses AND workers thriving. Putting aside the partisan nature of this policy, working together, and solving this problem together encourages bi-partisanship and takes on our first step toward an equitable solution.

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