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California $15 Minimum Wage Earthquake!
by Martin J. Bennett

BeyondChron, August 18, 2016

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed legislation boosting California’s minimum wage from $10 to $15 an hour — a 50 percent increase that made the state’s minimum wage the highest in the nation. The hike will be phased in over six years, then automatically adjusted annually to offset rising costs of living.

According to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, affected workers will receive on average one quarter more in wages, or about $3,700 per year adjusted for inflation. An estimated 96 percent receiving pay raises are adults over 20, and on average they contribute more than half of their family income. More than half are women and Latinos.

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Wages and Housing: Why Sonoma County Workers Can’t Afford the Rent
By Martin J. Bennett
Sonoma Gazette, February 2016

A widening gap between declining incomes and rising rents is fueling two powerful movements in the Golden State: one to raise the wage floor for low-wage workers, and another to control rents and increase funding for affordable housing.

According to the California Housing Partnership Corporation, a combination of falling incomes and high rents is driving the worst rental-housing crisis in California since World War II. Between 2000-2014 in California adjusted median household income fell 8 percent while median rents jumped 20 percent. During this timeframe Sonoma County's median renter income dropped by 9 percent and median rents increased by 17 percent.

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