Should State Lawmakers Control Minimum Wage?

New California legislation would prohibit the state's minimum wage from being lowered as consumer prices fall but would mandate increases as prices rise.

A new bill working its way through California legislation would ensure the state's workers earning the lowest wages would not diminish as the consumer price index falls. And it's not without its fair share of controversy.

The Sacramento Bee reports Assembly Bill 1439 by Assemblyman Luis Alejo would prohibit the minimum wage from being lowered as consumer prices fall but would mandate increases as prices rise. The indexing would be expected to hike the minimum wage about 14 cents next January and would set the stage for what could be annual hikes in years to come.

Currently, the state legislature sets the minimum wage in California.

As expected, the bill has fueled debate on both ends of spectrum. Proponents like Alejo contest the bill would stimulate economic growth while putting a few extra dollars in the pockets of struggling minimum wage workers. Some proponents argue the bill does not go far enough, explaining the state's $8 minimum wage is worth less when adjusted for inflation.

Opponents, however, label the bill as a "job-killer", according to The Bee, and believe it could increase the costs of doing business in a state where businesses are only just starting to recover. Opponents also contend the bill could spark demand for increases to temporary and permanent disability payments and salary hikes from higher-paid employees.

How should the minimum wage be set? Should state lawmakers have the power to raise and lower the minimum wage as they want, or should it increase automatically with inflation? Leave your thoughts below as a comment. 


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