A California Assembly panel has given preliminary approval to raising the statewide minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.
Members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee voted 12-7 Wednesday to advance the agreement between Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and labour unions.
It could be considered by the full Assembly as soon as Thursday.
Supporters say the raises would benefit more than two million Californians earning minimum wage. Business owners and some economists are concerned it would prompt layoffs and cause price increases that would outweigh the benefits.
A legislative analysis says raising the minimum wage to the nation’s highest statewide level would eventually cost taxpayers $3.6 billion a year in higher pay for government employees.