Gov. Brown signs historic $15 minimum wage law

- California Gov. Jerry Brown made history on Monday, signing a landmark bill to raise the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.

The move came after Democratic lawmakers approved the measure last week. The bill passed with no Republican support. 

Under the law, the state's $10 hourly minimum will go up by 50 cents next year and will increase to $11 in 2018.
After that, there will be a $1 an hour increase every year, until January 2022.

Gov. Brown's signing of the bill in Los Angeles, and a similar New York effort, mark the most ambitious moves yet to close the national divide between rich and poor.

Critics including business groups warn that the move could cost thousands of jobs.

A $15 base wage will have "devastating impacts on small businesses in California," Tom Scott, executive director of the state branch of the National Federation of Independent Business, said in a statement. "Ignoring the voices and concerns of the vast majority of job creators in this state is deeply concerning and illustrates why many feel Sacramento is broken." 

Supporters say the goal is to close the growing divide between the rich and the poor.

During Monday's signing, the governor spoke about the changes to the minimum wage saying, “Morally and socially and politically, they make every sense because it binds the community together and makes sure that parents can take care of their kids in a much more satisfactory way.”

About 2.2 million Californians now earn the minimum wage, but University of California, Irvine, economics professor David Neumark estimated the boost could cost 5 to 10 percent of low-skilled workers their jobs. 
 
Brown has said California, with the world's eighth largest economy, can absorb the raises without the problems predicted by opponents. 

Gov. Brown negotiated the deal to head off competing labor-backed ballot initiatives.

The move in California came hours after a similar bill signing in New York.

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