Minimum wage hike to $10 awaits governor's signature

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) A bill to raise California's minimum wage 25 percent, from $8 an hour to $10, was approved by the state legislature Thursday evening.

"I think it's great!" said Bakersfield resident Kathleen Bolden.

Bolden worked several jobs earning minimum wage, and it was tough, she said. Proponents of the bill argued the state minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs. Bolden agreed.

"We pay high food prices, high gas prices, high housing prices," she said.

Under the approved bill, the minimum wage would first rise to $9 an hour by July 2014, and then rise again to $10 an hour by July 2016.

But, some employers who did not want to appear on camera said that if forced to pay more money to employees, they will simply pass the cost on to consumers. Others feel employers are already overburdened with taxes and other costs.

"The amount an employee makes per hour is just a fraction of what they actually cost the company," said Realtor Blodgie Rodriguez of Bakersfield.

Gov. Jerry Brown said he supports the measure.

Washington state currently has the top minimum wage, at $9.19 an hour, an amount that is pegged to rise with inflation. Some cities, including San Francisco, have set higher minimum wages.