SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The campaign fighting to get an $18 minimum wage on the ballot secured a spot on the 2024 ballot.
The campaign was hoping to find a spot on the November ballot this year after collecting a million signatures, but several large counties did not submit the signatures on time by Thursday night, pushing it back to 2024.
The head of the campaign, Joe Sanberg, said they have several avenues to address that issue, one of which is to admit human error. He said several county registrar’s offices were confused and simply didn’t submit the signatures on time. Another is for the governor to hold a special election and combine it with November's election.
However, a spokesperson for the governor's office said Gov. Gavin Newsom won't be taking any action to change what's on the November ballot.
California’s minimum wage is set to increase to $15.50 in January. Sanberg is behind the Living Wages Act of 2022 campaign to ask voters to raise that to $18 an hour by 2025.
“California should be a state where everyone who works can afford life's basic needs,” he said.
State director for the National Federation of Independent Business, John Kabateck, said the increase is only going to force businesses out of California.
“They've got soaring inflation, retail theft, supply chain disruption, higher gas prices. How much more can they take before they shut their doors, leave for another state or just lay people off and close down forever?" John Kabateck said. "This is just absurd, and we think this is the wrong approach.”
He said the best thing policymakers could do now is to "do no harm."
"Stop the taxes, stop the regulations, stop paving the way for more frivolous lawsuits," Kabateck said. "Let's get small employers the chance to crawl out of the hole. Otherwise, we're going to find them deeper in that crater and more jobs going with it.”
Sanberg, a successful business man himself, isn’t buying it.
“The cost of a hamburger in Washington state where the minimum wage is above 14 bucks is about the same as the cost of a hamburger in New Hampshire where the minimum wage is $7.25," Sanberg said. "So I understand the narrative that's been used to attack minimum wage hikes for decades.”