Minimum Wage Survey Results: Small Business Weighs In On The Debate

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Councilmember Mike Bonin released the results of his Small Business Survey today, revealing significant support behind raising the minimum wage in the city.

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From Councilmember Mike Bonin’s desk:

WESTSIDE SMALL BUSINESSES SUPPORT MINIMUM WAGE HIKE

By a lopsided 2-1 margin, Westside business owners support raising the minimum wage in Los Angeles, according to the results of an online survey of business owners on the Westside conducted by Councilmember Mike Bonin.

In an online survey of businesses in Bonin’s 11th District, 55% of respondents said they supported raising the minimum wage to $15.25 by 2019. A mere 25% said they opposed the increase. More than two-thirds of the respondents said a wage increase would have no negative impact on their business.

“The message from small businesses in my district is clear – raising the minimum wage in Los Angeles will be good for our local economy,” said Bonin. “The businesses that give life to our neighborhoods and create the bulk of the jobs in Los Angeles understand that a better wage will be good for workers, good for business, and good for Los Angeles.”

Bonin, who represents the Westside, emailed business owners in the district late last year, seeking their input on a variety of issues facing small businesses in Los Angeles, and hosted the survey on his website for the past several months. Respondents also ranked their preferred methods of improving the city’s business climate, giving highest priority to phasing out the gross receipts tax, reducing traffic congestion, and simplifying the city’s permitting process.

Of the nearly 230 business owners who responded to the survey, 55% support raising the minimum wage, compared with just 25% who oppose an increase. Eighteen percent of the respondents said they needed more information on the proposal, and 7 percent said they oppose any minimum wage at all. When asked what effect they believed a gradual increase in the minimum wage would have on their businesses, 68.9% of respondents said that an increase would either have no effect on their business, or that they would benefit from their customers having more income and purchasing power because of an increase.  Thirteen percent said a wage increase would have a harmful impact on their business.

Last fall, Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed raising the minimum wage in stages, to $13.25 by 2017. Bonin supported that proposal, and – along with his colleagues Nury Martinez, Curren Price and Gil Cedillo – also called for exploring further increases to $15.25 by 2019. In the survey, Westside businesses gave thumbs-up to the proposal, countering the recent rhetoric that Los Angeles businesses oppose the proposals.

“As the Council deliberates on the wage proposals, we need to bust through the rhetoric and listen to the people who are actually running businesses in our neighborhoods,” said Bonin. “It is unfair and sells Los Angeles businesses short to claim the only way they can thrive is by paying workers a poverty wage. Our entrepreneurs are smarter than that, bigger than that, and better businesspeople than that.”

The minimum wage proposals are currently being considered by the City Council’s Economic Development Committee. The Committee is expected to consider reports from a variety of economists and wage experts in early February. More information about the minimum wage proposal can be found at www.11thdistrict.com/minimum_wage.

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