The Long Beach City Council voted 6-2 last night to postpone discussion on the minimum wage until the September 6 council meeting. The action was taken at the request of 3rd District Councilmember Suzie Price, who was unable to attend last night’s meeting. The vote to postpone was opposed by Councilmembers Jeannine Pearce and Roberto Uranga. Historically, city councils have postponed discussion on a key issue at the request of a council colleague.
The discussion will focus on whether the city moves forward using its own minimum wage ordinance passed early this year, or the law approved by the state legislature in the spring. Both go into effect January 1, but the city ordinance is more expensive for local businesses in the years 2019 and 2020, and possibly beyond. Nearly all of California’s nearly 500 cities will comply with the state law.
The Business Journal’s argument is that there is no legitimate reason for the city to make it more expensive for the local business community – especially smaller businesses. Who would benefit from going with the city’s ordinance? Not Long Beach residents – 75% of Long Beach workers do not live in the city (based on the minimum wage survey conducted by the city). This also means they spend very little money locally, so the local economy would receive very little benefit, if any at all.
Also, there is a cost to taxpayers attached to using the city ordinance: $475,000 to “provide initial education and enforcement for failing to properly implement any new City ordinance.”
Residents and business people must certainly question the priorities of the city council. The $475,000 could be used to hire three to four police officers to battle the city’s rising crime. As an example, during the first six months of this year compared to last year, rapes are up 13.5%, robbery is up 15.9% and residential burglary is up 8.7%.
What do you think?