Voters to decide on $15 per hour minimum wage

Posted at 6:24 PM, Mar 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-23 21:24:12-04

California voters will have their say on whether to raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour this November.

A labor-backed measure gathered enough signatures to reach the ballot. If passed, the minimum wage would rise incrementally to $15 an hour by 2021, with future increases tied to inflation.

"We'd have to raise our prices beyond belief, or we'd have to have a self ordering iPad," said Tony Raso, who owns Chula Vista's La Bella Pizza. 

Raso said the restaurant is already dealing with rising costs, and is about breaking even. He said raising the minimum wage any further would force him to hike prices for in-house diners, since he can't deduct tips from wages. 

"It's totally worth paying $15 an hour if that's the wage, but they totally forget about the gratuity," Raso said. 

Those in favor of the increase say the minimum wage hasn't kept pace with cost of living. Alan Gin, economist at the University of San Diego, said many servers who work at lower cost restaurants or work bad hours would benefit from the raise.

"Basically they're at the mercy of how customers feel on a certain day," he said. 

A spokesman for the measure said people would also have more money to spend at local businesses, like a pizzeria. 

San Diego city voters will have their own say on the minimum wage in June, when they will decide whether to raise the minimum wage from $10 to $11.50 an hour.