Los Angeles - Councilman Curren Price Jr. joined Mayor Eric Garcetti and several of his Council colleagues Monday to announce a new city proposal that would raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles. The elected officials were joined by faith, community and business leaders who voiced their strong support for a measure that would help address the city's fast growing rate of working poor, which at nearly 30 percent makes Los Angeles the poorest major city in America. Currently, the Ninth District has the highest concentration of poverty in the city, with nearly 40 percent of families living below the poverty level.
“Today we celebrate hard work, and the pride of thousands of working men and women - and yet our city continues to struggle with some startling statistics - Los Angeles has the embarrassing distinction of being the poorest major city in America and we have one of the highest gaps between rich and poor," said Councilman Price. "That is unacceptable."
In announcing the proposal, Mayor Garcetti also released the findings of a study he commissioned, studying the economic impact of raising the city's minimum wage to $13.25 by 2017. The study, conducted by UC Berkeley economists, found that 27 percent of Angelenos - nearly 1 million people - are currently living below the federal poverty level. The study also found that when other cities have enacted policies to raise wages across the board, lower-income workers tend to spend more of their income shopping locally, creating a stimulating effect for the economy.
"Lifting our minimum wage isn't just about doing what's just and fair - it's sound economic policy," said Price, who is Chair of the city's Economic Development Committee. "We will never be a thriving city if we continue to leave so many behind. When we raise our city's minimum wage we'll give our local economy a financial booster shot, finally giving hundreds of thousands of residents the buying power they need to spend in their local stores and restaurants, and helping to grow our local economy."