The governor buoyed the effort to raise California's minimum wage by announcing on Wednesday that he would support Assembly Bill 10. After a debate in which supporters frequently invoked a widening national gulf between rich and poor, the Assembly voted 51-25 to send Brown the bill.
Some lawmakers recounted growing up in households supported by parents making the legal minimum. Others sought to refute a common argument that minimum wage jobs largely go to young people just entering the workforce, speaking of constituents working multiple minimum-wage jobs.
"This bill is a modest down payment that is predictable and that makes huge differences in the lives of those who get the increase," said Assembly Speaker John A Pérez, D-Los Angeles. "It is easy for those in the room who make $90,000 a year plus to discount the struggle of those who are getting by on minimum wage."
The legislation drew a chorus of disapproval from legislators who said a minimum wage hike would hobble businesses and stunt economic growth in California, whose unemployment rate is markedly higher than the national average.
"If we really want to create jobs for our residents in California we need to listen to employers," said Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R- Chino Hills. "What can we do to get them to be competitive with other states and each other to attract people to California?"