The Long Beach City Council passed a proposal early Wednesday morning to incrementally raise the minimum wage in the city to $13 an hour by 2019.
The proposal passed 6-2 with City Councilmembers Stacy Mungo and Daryl Supernaw voting against the proposal.
Under the proposal, the minimum wage -- which increased statewide to $10 an hour on Jan. 1 -- would increase to $10.50 in Long Beach at the beginning of 2017. It would then jump to $12 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018, and $13 an hour on Jan. 1, 2019.
The council also voted -- again 6-2 -- to commission a study to assess the impacts of a new minimum wage on the economy. If the study finds the city's wage law to have had salutary effects, Long Beach's minimum wage would rise to $14 in 2020 and to $15 in 2021.
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The proposal falls short of minimum wage hikes approved by the city and county of Los Angeles, which have each adopted ordinances that will push the minimum salary to $15 by 2020. Those ordinances will both increase the wage to $10.50 in July, then to $12 in July 2017, $13.25 in July 2018, $14.25 in July 2019 and $15 in July 2020.
Like the Los Angeles city and county ordinances, the Long Beach proposal would also give businesses with less than 25 employees an extra year to meet the increased wage levels. Nonprofits would also have an additional year.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia has already said he supports the wage increase, stressing during his recent State of the City address that ``every worker in our city deserves a living wage.''
The minimum wage hikes have generally been met with opposition from business groups, which argue that mandated increases could lead to higher prices for products and services, or to layoffs by employers who cannot afford to maintain their workforce at the elevated salary levels.
A study conducted for the city by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation found that the vast majority of employers in Long Beach would respond to a minimum wage hike by raising prices instead of imposing layoffs.
City News Service contributed to this report.