MONTEREY, Calif. - Millions of wage earners in California got a raise today. The minimum wage is now $9 an hour and its good news for most. But there are those that say it's bad for business in California.
Small Business owner Cammie Jones sees life as a wage earner on the Central Coast this way, "If you look at somebody who's trying to make a living wage, especially in this area, you're looking at $15 an hour just for people to get by."
For many Tuesday was a long time coming, as of July 1, the minimum wage in California bumped up a dollar an hour and in January of 2016, $10 dollars an hour. Legislation signed into law last year made that happen. Central Coast Assembly Member Luis Alejo authored the bill.
"What we got signed into law last year was historic, because it does raise the minimum wage by 25 percent once it goes up to 10 dollars an hour. That's the highest increase ever in California history,' says Alejo.
California hasn't had a minimum wage increase in 6 and half years, Alejo calls that a victory. But one conservative economist I spoke to David Henderson says it's bad for business, "The reason why is that it prices out the most vulnerable workers. When you have a job you have to be able to produce something worth what you're being paid, with a higher minimum wage there will be people who won't be able to produce that much and they will be out of work."
But Alejo says the more people make the more they'll spend.
But Henderson counters, "If they have more money they will spend more. But the people who are paying them will have less money, those people are employers and customers. So there's no Easter bunny in here."
Jones believes better workers come with higher pay, "That's what the other companies have to realize, you do get what you pay for."
One employee told me that he's worked at the same company in Monterey for 10 years making 8 dollars an hour and never got a raise until today. He's looking forward to making about 2000 dollars more a year and in 2016, $10 dollars an hour.