Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fullerton's Minimum Wage Plan

I see John Fullerton sent his alternative plan for a minimum wage increase in as a letter to the editor of the North Coast Journal. Good to see I'm not giving away any secrets. I saw it earlier on the No On Measure R Facebook page.

Here is his plan for a "responsible" local minimum wage increase. My comments follow:

1) Any increase MUST be countywide and not discriminate against any one city. 

 2) My plan would have two rates. The lower one would be the rate mandated by the State of Calif (currently $9 per hour). That rate would be for the following groups; A) Workers under age 21. This would help them get their first job. B) Tipped employees. Ex; waiters and waitresses, most of whom make more in tips than in salaries. C) Employees in their first six months on the job. This helps employers train new employees. 

3) The higher rate will be for everybody else and be phased in. $ 10 per hour starting January 1st, 2015 $ 11 per hour starting January 1st 2016 $ 12 per hour starting January 1st 2017 This will give the local economy time to adjust and not cost so many job losses. 

4) Finally I would give employers a credit for their cost of any health insurance or retirement plans they give employees. This would help encourage employers to offer health insurance & retirement plans to employees and doesn't that help everybody ? 

It is certainly better thought out than Measure R, but I'm not onboard and wouldn't support it. Just a few reasons:

#1. Even some opposed to Measure R say they'd support it if it applied countywide and not just in Eureka. As far as I'm concerned the objections to Measure R still stand if applied to the entire county. Humboldt County as a whole is a depressed area. I see nothing good in dragging the whole county down instead of just Eureka. 

#2. I like that he has a two tiered wage that recognizes minimum wage jobs as entry level positions. Having the option for a lower minimum for those new to the workforce makes it easier for younger folks to get that first job.

However, it doesn't take into account older, less skilled folks like myself that might need a job to make ends meet when we're no longer able to continue what we've been doing. That makes it harder to find a job if you're over 21, especially so if you're in your 50s or older.

Oh, and there seems to be no accommodation for non- profits which often rely heavily on minimum wage workers. Probably just an oversight?

#3. Whatever, although I maintain the state already raised the minimum wage this year and will raise it again January 1. That should suffice.

#4. The idea of employer credits is a good one regardless of, and even without, any minimum wage increases.

Fullerton finished by saying we need to defeat Measure R first, then work on getting a county wide measure. I agree with defeating Measure R, but I'll vote against a county wide measure as well. 

I do appreciate that he stepped up to the plate and offered an alternative after being challenged by Measure R supporters for one.


At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah. His plan isn't much better than Measure R. IT needs to be many more years and more economic infrastructure in Humboldt before it can go to $12. Maybe if marijuana is legalized and we have a legitimate industry here again, but that's the only way this area could support that wage in 2017. Fullerton's plan is a recipe for disaster.

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Well, as I already pointed out, it is better thought out than Measure R. No matter how well thought out it is, though, it would still be a problem for a depressed county.

At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I betcha John Fullerton would secretly vote no on his own proposal

At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:23 you are absolutely right - as would Fred. Rising minimum wages are big government at it's worse. Who is going to be supporting a free market if John and Fred get off the band wagon. And if a minimum wage is a legitimate function of government what else is?

- Liberal Jon

At 6:46 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Government already raised the minimum wage. Once this year, and again January 1.

At 8:11 PM, Anonymous John Fullerton said...

I betcha "Anonymous" doesn't have a clue as to what I really think.

I have gotten in trouble more than once because I say what I believe. I say what I believe in public and in private.

A minimum wage is necessary. An increase in the minimum wage can work if it is done right. Measure R is a disaster waiting to happen. Those that fight against any kind of an increase is bound to lose. The answer is to back a wage increase like my proposal that both sides can live & prosper with.


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