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Some councilmembers want to slow down Los Angeles' minimum wage proposal

The fight between the Department of Water and Power and City Hall lives on as an appeals court considers whether the controller can audit the books of two private groups funded with public money.
Brian Weed/Flickr Creative Commons
A motion from the Los Angeles City Council seeks economic studies on a proposed increase to the minimum wage. The council members also want to look at alternatives to the proposal currently under consideration.

Five members of the Los Angeles city council put forward a proposal Tuesday that would slow down the city's push toward increasing the minimum wage by calling for a full economic study on how businesses and non-profits could be affected by higher wages. 

"I support the efforts of my colleagues to increase the minimum wage, however the conversation about imposing an increase needs to be elevated and expanded," Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, who authored the motion with Bob Blumenfield, said in a statement. "I am a strong supporter of our business community, especially our small business owners. Many of them already exist at the margins, and it is our obligation to explore every consequence, because there's too much at stake in our economy."

He wants to look at how workers could be affected if businesses reduce employees' hours and benefits in order to give them a bigger paycheck.

Council members Felipe Fuentes, Paul Krekorian and Nury Martinez seconded the motion.

Last month, Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled a plan to increase hourly wages to $13.25 an hour by 2017. He wants to get there through a series of bumps starting next year. The minimum wage in California is currently $9 an hour.

Earlier this month, Council members Mike Bonin, Nury Martinez, Curren Price and Gil Cedillo authored the motion that would implement the mayor's plan - and go further. They proposed increasing wages to $15.25 an hour by 2019.

That motion was referred to the city's Economic Development Committee for consideration. A vote on the issue has not yet been scheduled - but council members are hoping the ordinance is approved by the council and signed by the mayor by January.