SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California and New York are poised to become the highest-paid minimum-wage states in the nation after their governors each reached deals with lawmakers to raise the lowest amount a worker can be paid to a record-shattering $15 an hour.
California Gov. Jerry Brown said he will sign a new minimum-wage bill Monday after it passed the Legislature on Thursday. Across the country in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reached a tentative deal late Thursday with top lawmakers to raise the state’s base wage.
The actions in two of the country’s most labor-friendly states come as the income divide has emerged as a key issue nationwide in a presidential election year. President Barack Obama, who first proposed an increase to the $7.25 federal minimum wage in 2013, applauded the states’ actions and called on the Republican-controlled Congress to “keep up with the rest of the country.”
“California takes a massive leap forward today in the fight to rebalance our nation’s economy,” said Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation.
California’s current $10-an-hour minimum wage is tied with Massachusetts for the highest among states. Only Washington, D.C., at $10.50 per hour is higher. New York’s minimum wage is $9.