California voters to decide on gradual minimum wage increases

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced on March 22 that an initiative proposing to raise the state minimum wage is eligible for the November 8, 2016, General Election ballot.
The Attorney General’s official title and summary of the initiative is as follows:
Under existing law, California’s minimum wage will increase from $9.00 per hour to $10.00 per hour on January 1, 2016. This measure increases the minimum wage to $11.00 per hour, effective January 1, 2017, and by $1.00 each of the next four years, to $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2021. Thereafter, adjusts the minimum wage annually based on the rate of inflation for the previous year, using the California Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Change in annual state and local tax revenues potentially ranging from a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to a gain of more than $1 billion. Changes in state revenues would affect required state budget reserves, debt payments, and funding for schools and community colleges. Increase in state and local government spending totaling billions of dollars per year.

In order to become eligible for the ballot, the initiative needed 365,880 valid petition signatures, which is equal to 5% of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2014 General Election.An initiative can qualify via random sampling of petition signatures if the sampling projects a number of valid signatures greater than 110 percent of the required number. The initiative needed at least 402,468 projected valid signatures to qualify by random sampling, and it exceeded that threshold on March 22, 2016.On June 30, 2016, the Secretary of State will certify the initiative as qualified for the November 8, 2016, General Election ballot, unless the proponents withdraw the initiative prior to that date pursuant to Elections Code Section 9604(b). (California Secretary of State, News Releases and Advisories, AP16:049, March 22, 2016.)

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