State policy update

Sarah Maren Photographers

Sarah Maren Photographers

California raises the minimum wage

California’s minimum wage debate ramped up quickly last month.  As municipalities across the state were taking a closer look at raising the wage locally, legislators struck a deal with the governor to raise the statewide minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. Signed into law on April 4, 2016, increases will begin Jan. 1, 2017 with a raise to $10.50 an hour, then $11 an hour in 2018 and followed by annual $1 an hour increases until 2022. Businesses with 25 or fewer employees would have an extra year to comply and the governor could delay increases in times of budgetary or economic downturns.

California is the first state to adopt a statewide $15 an hour minimum wage – an 87 percent increase since January 2016. How will this significant spike in the minimum wage affect downtown businesses?

DSP shares concerns expressed by the California Downtown Association, this legislation could have serious and counterproductive consequences. While it is intriguing to think that raising the minimum wage can have a large upside with little negative impact, the reality is raising the minimum wage threatens to undermine the vitality of our small businesses. Looking ahead, we will continue to work with the business community to keep you informed.

Focus on homeless solutions

Earlier this month, California Downtown Association (CDA) announced its support, in concept, of the California Senate proposal to increase affordable housing opportunities for the homeless. Senate President pro Tem de León’s “No Place Like Home” initiative would provide much needed assistance to our communities by combining significant state funding with local innovation to help the homeless with emergency and permanent supportive housing. 

This proposal is a step in the right direction. We have learned, and believe, that homelessness can be ended. The key to getting people off of the streets is housing.  Our communities need concrete solutions and financial support from the state. DSP looks forward to seeing how this initiative develops in the coming weeks and months. 

Right to Rest legislation fails to pass committee

During the last week of March, SB 876 (Liu) failed on a vote of 2 aye, 7 no, 2 abstentions during its first hearing in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. The letters from dozens of BIDs and associations across the state coupled with testimony of DSP Executive Director and California Downtown Association Past President Michael Ault was invaluable in educating policy makers about the negative impacts of SB 876.