San Diego defies mayor, raises minimum wage

san diego faulconer
San Diego City Council overrode Mayor Kevin Faulconer's veto of a citywide minimum wage hike Monday.

San Diego is the latest city to pass a minimum wage hike despite a veto from Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

On Monday, the San Diego City Council overrode his veto to approve a gradual wage increase and paid sick days.

On January 1, 2015, the minimum wage will jump from $9 an hour to $9.75; it will reach $11.50 by 2017. Beginning in 2019, the minimum wage rate will be tied to inflation.

The legislation approved Monday also grants workers five paid sick days annually.

Advocates argue that a higher minimum wage and other benefits help low-wage workers make ends meet and can lift some out of poverty. But others say it's a job killer.

Related: Seattle approves $15 minimum wage

Faulconer vetoed the legislation on August 8, a week after it was first approved by the city council. He said the new law puts "heavier burdens" on small businesses compared to neighboring cities and makes it hard for them to create jobs.

Diner adds 35 cents to bills for minimum wage
Diner adds 35 cents to bills for minimum wage

The governing body voted 6-2 Monday in favor of overriding the veto.

The federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 an hour, but many other cities, states and counties have also taken action to raise the rate for workers. Last year, California lawmakers approved a raise to the state's minimum wage, which is being phased in over three years until it reaches $10 an hour.

But the new San Diego law is not in the clear just yet. The San Diego Small Business Coalition plans to circulate a petition beginning Wednesday that would require a referendum vote to approve the wage hike before it takes effect, said the group's spokesman, Jason Roe. To earn a spot on the ballot, the petition must have at least 33,866 signatures and be submitted to the city clerk within 30 days.

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