We often hear the mayor and city council claim Long Beach is a business-friendly city. But if they move forward tomorrow night with a first step toward raising the minimum wage, they would be hypocrites to ever make that claim again.
Yes, they are first voting to have a study done, but that is simply delaying the inevitable because of the city council’s political leanings and close relationships with unions.
Mayor Robert Garcia and the nine councilmembers should not compare Long Beach to other cities that have forced an increase in the minimum wage on their businesses. Long Beach is not Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, etc. This is a city of small businesses, mom-and-pop shops, family-owned businesses, etc., with a growing start-up creative sector. The number of private sector businesses employing more than 1,000 people in this city can be counted on one hand. Long Beach is small business America.
Will the mayor and councilmembers guarantee that if they raise the minimum wage 30, 40, 50 percent or more, that businesses will experience an equal increase in productivity from those same workers? If elected officials cannot make that guarantee, then they are admitting a forced increase to the minimum wage is nothing more than another handout.
Not one councilmember has run their own business where they had to meet a payroll every one or two weeks, or dealt with problem customers or lazy workers or late-paying clients. There is a lengthy list of issues small business people deal with on a daily basis while, by the way, trying to make a profit. Councilmembers have zero concept of what business people go through to keep the doors open. Yet they are telling others how to run their business by dictating what to pay their employees.
Minimum wage jobs should be looked at as a stepping stone toward a better job and better pay, not as a career. If our elected officials truly want to help minimum wage workers, they should encourage these workers to get an education or learn a trade to become better equipped to move up the ladder of success, both personally and financially. By handing out free money from hard working, risk-taking entrepreneurs (which is exactly what councilmembers would be doing), the wrong message is being sent to minimum wage workers. Elected officials are telling them: “Don’t better yourself because the government will take care of you.”
If Long Beach wishes to be a true business-friendly city, it needs to protect our small business community.