As the cost of living continues to increase here in Santa Cruz, wages remain relatively flat – particularly for workers at the lower end of the pay scale. While new laws (Senate Bill 3, passed in April 2016) will enforce increases in the minimum wage by 2022 and 2023 for large and small businesses respectively, Santa Cruz workers continue to struggle.
Currently, Santa Cruz workers are paid a $10-minimum wage, hardly enough to pay for ever-increasing rent prices. In fact, according to a recent national survey of housing, over 60 percent of Santa Cruz County renters overpay for housing, with those at the bottom of the scale spending over 80% of their income on rent alone. While most Santa Cruz workers will continue to earn less than the required $15-an-hour for another seven years, the cost of living in the county steadily increases - requiring nearly $14-an-hour for a single adult and $30-an-hour for parents with children. Opponents of an increased minimum wage suggest that small businesses will be harmed by higher wages, but the evidence does not support these claims. Seattle, one of the cities to more recently raise the minimum wage to $15, has seen large increases in employment and income. Washington state, which has the highest statewide minimum wage in the country, is “far outpacing other states in wage and job growth”. In 2014, a study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that the 13 states that increased the minimum wage saw employment numbers increase faster than states that did not, an average of 0.85 percent compared to 0.61 percent in the other 37 states. Santa Cruz is ready for accelerated increases in the minimum wage. Our candidates are committed to finding better solutions that work for all members of our community. Check the facts and learn more: Living Wage Calculator for MIT: http://livingwage.mit.edu/counties/06087