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National Restaurant Association - San Jose, Calif., citizens to vote on $10 minimum wage

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San Jose, Calif., citizens to vote on $10 minimum wage

The California Restaurant Association has united with other business organizations in San Jose, Calif., to try to defeat a measure on the city's ballot that would increase the minimum wage in San Jose businesses to $10 an hour starting in January and automatically tie yearly increases to the consumer price index after that.

The San Jose City Council voted this spring to put the measure on the November ballot. San Jose's current minimum wage is $8; advocates for an increase say the current wage fails to provide a "livable wage" for earners. Pro-wage-hike forces held a rally last week to start generating support for the measure.

The California Restaurant Association recently sent an alert to its members about the impact of a $10 starting wage with automatic indexing. "The measure will create an enormous barrier to job creation in San Jose, and push new jobs out of San Jose," the CRA said. "The initiative will ... force restaurateurs and small business owners to make unfortunate operational decisions to meet the increased labor costs in the midst of a slow economic recovery." 

The CRA has joined in a "Keep San Jose Jobs--Oppose Government-Mandated Wage Hikes" coalition to make the case to voters about the tough decisions employers are forced to make when starting wages increase. The CRA provides examples of the financial impact: A restaurant with 50 minimum-wage employees averaging 20 hours a week would see costs climb by more than $100,000 a year, the CRA notes.
 
Santa Monica and Santa Cruz voters rejected similar measures in 2000 and 2006 after employers were able to get the message to voters that government-mandated wage increases come at a high cost.
 
Other minimum-wage mandates may be on the November ballots in Missouri and Albuquerque, N.M., although these jurisdictions have not yet certified that wage-hike proponents have submitted enough valid signatures.

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