Support Measure D
Voters in San Jose will get a chance to give low-income workers a boost this November by voting for Measure D, a local initiative that would raise the minimum wage in San Jose to $10 an hour. Growing out of a classroom project at San Jose State, the measure had its roots in the recognition that, at $8 an hour, the current minimum wage is simply not a livable income for those residing here in one of the most expensive metropolitan areas in the country. Appearing on KQED's Forum radio program, Assessor Larry Stone had this to say about Measure D:
The main point on this is it’s the right thing to do. People who work hard, who play by rules should make a fair wage. Workers should be able to live modestly where they work. You cannot live on $16,400 a year or $1,300 a month when that’s $500 less than the average rent right now of $1,800 in San Jose.
Opponents argue that the move will cut jobs and force businesses out of the city, and the Chamber of Commerce has predictably come out in force, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to oppose the measure. Yet study after study has shown that raising the minimum wage does not lead to widespread job loss or hinder business. In fact, low-wage workers end up spending that extra money right away and right in their own communities, boosting the local economy. Opponents also contend that the measure will require a new city bureaucracy, although supporters point out there is no such mandate and that enforcement can be handled within the city department that already exists to handle such claims.
A minimum wage should provide a person at least a minimal ability to support him or herself without relying on food stamps or other government services. The current minimum wage falls far short of this baseline. It's time to change that and do the right thing. Vote YES on Measure D.