Gavin Newsom’s office announced Thursday that, for the first time ever, California’s high inflation rate has raised next year’s minimum wage—$25,000 for all workers—before the June deadline for finalizing the state budget. 15.50 per hour.
The announcement comes as the governor’s office also unveiled an $18.1 billion spending package that will provide comprehensive financial relief to car owners, hospital workers and other Californians experiencing high costs for consumer goods and burnout from the pandemic. does.
Under a 2016 law that sets the state minimum wage, an inflation rate above 7% mandates an upward adjustment, Newsom’s director of the Department of Finance Kelly Martin Bosler told reporters Thursday. That means large employers will increase their employees’ hourly rate from $15 to $15.50, and businesses employing 25 or fewer people are already preparing for a $1 minimum wage increase next year. will see an increase from $14 to $15.50.
Bosler said a jump in the minimum wage should not fuel inflation further because minimum wage income is only a small fraction of the growth in a state’s personal income. “You can see that some of the prices are going up,” she said, referring to the restaurant. But she said those increases are “really quite small” while having “huge implications” for families living on the minimum wage.
Many cities in California set their minimum wage levels at significantly higher rates than the state, so the $15.50 state mandate has little effect. However, some of those cities also have their own inflation adjustment formulas, so minimum wage workers here can expect an increase in the coming months as well.
The announcement of the minimum wage and Newsom’s new spending package came to light on Thursday, a day before the governor made a sweeping May budget revision to fully outline his spending priorities, including what to do with the skyrocketing budget surplus, Which is expected to blow past January’s estimates. Billions of dollars and was recently estimated at $68 billion.
As part of his package, the governor wants to provide a $1,000 payment to every hospital and health care worker across the state to address a growing wave of staffing shortages in the industry, Bosler told reporters. Bosler said payments under employee matching options could increase to $2,000.
The so-called hazard pay would cover an estimated 600,000 workers and total $933 million.
“I appreciate the recognition, and I think it’s long overdue,” said Cathy Stromberg, a nurse and union official at Stanford Hospital. She said the bonus could ease the stress of some workers in the industry. “But there is more work that needs to be done to resolve the issues,” she said.
The biggest part of Newsom’s relief package is proposed to be funneled into the form of paying vehicle owners $400 for each car, capped at $800 for two vehicles – to ease the brunt of higher gas prices. Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine and inflation took off. Newsom first announced that proposal a few months ago, and is now projected to return $11.5 billion to taxpayers.
While some form of cash back proposal is certain, Newsom and the Democratic leadership in the Legislature have been at odds over how best to structure gas price payments. Lawmakers say the money should be targeted to low- and middle-income Californians, who are identified by tax returns. But the governor has said those plans will delay financial relief until October and has instead proposed using the DMV to release payments this summer.
To address equity concerns, Bosler said the governor is seeking to impose a vehicle price cap that could prevent some luxury vehicle owners from receiving gas rebates. The governor is also proposing $750 million in grants for free public transportation across the state.
“There’s going to be a lot going on between the administration and the legislature, hopefully, to reach an agreement within a month,” Bosler said during a press briefing.