California's current minimum wage is $8/hour. A bill at the State Capitol would bump it up gradually over the next several years to $9.25/hour, then require annual increases for inflation. UC Berkeley labor economist Sylvia Allegretto says too many Californians are underpaid:
Allegretto: "There are some big corporations who pay low minimum wages and they could afford to pay a lot higher, and we are subsidizing them because our workers are on government programs."
But John Kabateck with the National Federation of Independent Businesses says California small businesses simply can't afford a minimum wage increase.
Kabateck: "I think there's an assumption that a small business owner can waive a magic wand and suddenly make money appear when they just are struggling right now and they don't have it."
The federal minimum wage is 75 cents below California's current rate.