Local economist believes minimum wage hike would benefit San Diego

SAN DIEGO - Just a few months after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that would raise the minimum wage for Californians, San Diego's interim Mayor Todd Gloria is pushing for another local wage increase.

"No one who works full time should have to live in poverty," Gloria said at his State of the City Address last week. "The high cost of living coupled with growing income inequality is a threat to our ability to build a great city."

Gloria wants to see wages even higher than what Brown just signed into law for all Californians. In July, the minimum wage will go from $8 to $9 per hour, and then go up again to $10 in January of 2016.

10News went to University of San Diego economics professor Alan Gin to ask him his thoughts about all these wage increases.

"I think there are going to be some winners and losers," Gin said. "People will have more money to spend so they'll go out and they'll spend that. That will give a boost to the economy."

He added that jobs in San Diego's tourism industry saw the most growth in 2013 and he believes the trend will continue this year. But Gin noted something else.

"One problem is that a lot of those jobs tend to be lower paying jobs," he said.

Mark Arabo, the president of the Neighborhood Market Association, believes raising the minimum wage would be a disaster for the 2,300 small businesses he represents around the state.

"Small businesses in the city of San Diego are working on razor-thin margins so when you increase minimum wage again, you're going to have layoffs," he said. "People will close their doors or move to the county of San Diego."

He said if San Diego moves forward with another wage hike, he will be asking city leaders to exempt small businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

Some Los Angeles city council members plan to introduce a motion to raise the minimum wage to $15.37 an hour. If it passes, that would be the highest minimum wage in the country.

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