City Council to Consider Study of Minimum Wage Increase in Long Beach

In light of the nationwide conversation about minimum wage policies and the recent adoption of a local minimum wage by both the City and County of Los Angeles, Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal released a proposal today, co sponsored by councilmembers Lena Gonzalez, Dee Andrews and Rex Richardson, to initiate a study of the potential impact of local wage increases in Long Beach.

The study would also survey how the city might respond to said increases, as well as take into consideration possible incentives or fee reductions to businesses and nonprofits.

“Considering so many of our neighboring cities and jurisdictions have approved minimum wage increases, it is important for Long Beach to at least look at whether a minimum wage is appropriate here, and what incentives for businesses might be appropriate as well,” said Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal in a statement.

Mayor Robert Garcia said he had begun meeting with business leaders and nonprofits and voiced a commitment to providing opportunities for public input in the coming months. 

"I support a collaborative and inclusive conversation about raising the minimum wage that includes workers, small businesses, and our non-profits," said Garcia in a statement. "We need to ensure that we collect data, study national and local workforce trends, and most importantly ensure that the process is open and balanced. While I appreciate the conversation and work that has happened in Los Angeles and other jurisdictions, Long Beach will look towards creating a policy that reflects the needs and interests of our residents and business community."

If the study is approved, the data accumulated would be crucial to have in order to have an honest and open discussion on how an increase could affect Long Beach residents, according to Councilmember Richardson. Included in that discussion would be North Long Beach, where 26.6 percent of families with children under 18 are living in poverty. 

According to the release, the agenda item for the August 11 Council Meeting would direct the city manager to request the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) to study the potential impact of a minimum wage for Long Beach, and possible incentives for businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Additionally, the legislation asks the city’s Economic Development Commission to provide input and feedback on potential minimum wage increases and or business incentives. The LAEDC completed and published a report to the LA County Board of Supervisors in June.

“It’s important that we simply get all the facts and this report will help us do that,” said Councilman Andrews in a statement. “We want to support our business community and our workforce, as well as the families that are in dire need of a living wage.”

Other nearby cities exploring raising their minimum wage include Pasadena, Santa Monica and West Hollywood. In addition to the City and County of Los Angeles, other cities that have recently adopted a minimum wage include San Diego, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., Seattle and Oakland. According to the release, the University of California also recently adopted a $15 minimum wage, to be implemented over the next three years.

“Long Beach families deserve a seat at the table in the national conversation on poverty and wages,” said Councilmember Richardson in a statement. Councilwoman Gonzalez also relayed her confidence in the city for having a constructive and informed discussion about the issue in a release. 

The LAEDC’s Institute for Applied Economics was commissioned by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to conduct a study and provide a report on the potential implications of a minimum wage policy for the County. That report was completed and presented to the Board of Supervisors in June, according to the announcement.

The full proposal will be available to review today after 5:00PM on the city's website here

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