San Diego Business Journal

Mayor Faulconer Vetoes Minimum Wage; Gloria Believes Council Will Override Veto

By Lou Hirsh Sunday, August 10, 2014
Mayor Kevin Faulconer vetoed a City Council measure that seeks to raise the minimum wage in San Diego to $11.50 by January 2017.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer vetoed a City Council measure that seeks to raise the minimum wage in San Diego to $11.50 by January 2017.

The San Diego City Council will schedule a vote within the next 30 days to consider overriding Mayor Kevin Faulconer's veto on Friday of the council’s recent move to raise the city’s minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by January 2017.

The City Council on July 28 approved the measure 6-3; six votes are required to override the veto.

In a statement Aug. 8, Faulconer said he is vetoing the measure because it threatens job opportunities in the city.

“This ordinance weakens San Diego’s ability to create and retain jobs by putting heavier burdens on small businesses compared to nearby cities, permanently tipping the scales to the disadvantage of San Diegans seeking employment,” the mayor said.

Faulconer said local workers will already see a pay increase, after the state of California passed a minimum wage increase that took effect July 1, raising the state’s minimum wage from $8 to $9 per hour.

The city’s minimum wage is the current state minimum. The measure approved by San Diego City Council would raise it to $9.75 in January 2015; $10.50 in January 2016; and $11.50 in January 2017.

“When 38 percent of San Diego workers don’t earn enough to make ends meet, something must be done,” Council President Todd Gloria said in his own statement responding to Faulconer's action. “That is why the mayor’s veto of this reasonable, common sense measure is disappointing.”

Gloria said an override vote will be scheduled by the council within the next 30 days as required by city law, and a two-thirds majority – six votes – of the council is required to override a veto. Gloria said he believes the council will do so, and he is now developing an enforcement ordinance to ensure compliance with the minimum wage law.

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, in a written statement, called on the council to let the mayor’s veto stand, and the Chamber noted that minimum wage opponents are considering options in the event that the veto is not upheld, including a voter referendum on the wage hike.

“Mayor Faulconer showed strong leadership in making this decision that protects the San Diego economy, particularly our small businesses and jobs,” chamber President and CEO Jerry Sanders said.