UC Santa Cruz professor and chair of economics Rob Fairlie told state lawmakers that California's minimum wage should be raised to protect low-paid workers who are being overwhelmed by the cost of living, according to a UCSC release.
"The economic security of our low-wage workers in California is just too important to allow that to happen," Fairlie told members of the state Senate Appropriations Committee during hearings on AB10 that would raise the minimum wage over the next few years.
The bill, authored by Assemblymember Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, raises minimum wage from $8 an hour to $9 an hour in July, 2014 and then to $10 in January 2016.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25. Workers earning that, including those at Walmart, whose owners include four of the top 10 wealthiest people in the U.S., are eligible for food stamps.
In his testimony, Fairlie said a California worker making the current $8 minimum wage would have to work 58 hours per week for an entire year to be at the federal poverty line of $23,283 a year.