Minimum wage bill creates controversy

A new state bill is getting mixed reviews in Bakersfield. Starting next year, AB 10 will raise the minimum wage to $9 then to $10 in 2016.

BAKERSFIELD - A new state bill is getting mixed reviews in Bakersfield.

Starting next year, AB 10 will raise the minimum wage to $9 then to $10 in 2016. Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill.

City officials say the bill is a job killer and will hurt the economy. But, for people making $8 an hour, it's a bill they've been waiting for.

In downtown Bakersfield, it was a busy day at The Cookie Jar, a bakery on 20th Street.

But, as the business continues to bring in customers, the owner says more help is needed, an idea that most likely won't happen anymore.

"I don't know how we're going to be able to hire anybody because we aren't making that much more in order to hire somebody with the minimum wage going up," said Anita Tackett, owner of The Cookie Jar.

AB 10 passed the state legislature Thursday, which will raise the minimum wage from $8 to $9 starting next year.

That number will then be raised to $10 in January 2016. City officials aren't pleased.

"It has the potential to just decimate the economy here locally as well as statewide," said Cindy Pollard, President of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce.

But, Governor Jerry Brown says the new minimum wage will help families struggling in the economy.

California farmworkers will also benefit, earning a 25 percent raise. The UFW says it had been fighting for nearly three years to get the minimum wage raised for farmers.

"It's a little bit of money, but it makes a big difference for people who barely make enough to support their families," said UFW spokesperson Maria Machuca.

But, for The Cookie Jar and small businesses throughout Bakersfield, city officials say they have a tough road ahead.

"It's just going to drive up the cost of doing business overall, forcing businesses into making some very tough decisions," said Pollard.

California's minimum wage is among the highest in the country and hasn't been raised since 2008.

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