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San Jose voters to decide fate of city's minimum wage hike from $8 to $10

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POSTED May 23, 2012 10:41 p.m.

SAN JOSE (AP) — The San Jose City Council will let voters have the final say on the city's minimum wage will be.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday, the council approved putting a minimum wage ordinance on the Nov. 6 ballot. If approved, the minimum wage would rise from $8 to $10 an hour, with annual increases tied to the consumer price index, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Mayor Chuck Reed said the election will allow city leaders, residents and business owners time to gather input and weigh in on the proposed ordinance. Some in the attendance held signs that read, "Time for $10."

"I'm sure some people will be opposed, and some will be in favor of it," Reed said. "That is what elections are for."

The Council's vote came after a majority of public speakers urged councilmembers to adopt a minimum wage hike outright, which the council rejected 8 to 3. It is modeled on San Francisco's 2003 minimum-wage law, which includes annual inflation adjustments that this year raised the floor on that city's pay rate 32 cents to $10.24 an hour.

The proposal originated in a San Jose State sociology class that gathered enough petition signatures last month to qualify it in time for an election.

"I have great respect for you," Councilwoman Rose Herrera said to those who sparked the initiative. "I think it has a lot of dimensions — there's a moral issue and an economic issue, and I think it's an issue we need to grapple with."

However, Councilmember Ash Kalra told his colleagues that not adopting an ordinance immediately could lead to voters being misinformed.

"We should be honest about the information we put out there," Kalra said. "Let's have a real debate and discussion about it."

 

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