Backers of an initiative that would increase the minimum wage in California received permission Tuesday to begin gathering signatures from Secretary of State Debra Bowen.
The initiative would increase the minimum wage to $10 per hour effective March 1, 2015 and $12 effective March 1, 2016.
The minimum wage is $8 and per a bill approved last year will rise to $9 on July 1 and $10 on January 1, 2016.
Valid signatures from 504,760 registered voters -- 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2010 general election -- must be submitted by June 26 to qualify the measure for the November ballot, Bowen said.
Initiative proponent Ron Unz said the measure will reduce costs of various public assistance programs. Opponents said it will increase unemployment as employers will hirer fewer employees because of the increased costs.
Unz authored Proposition 227 on the June 1998 ballot which changed the state's bilingual education laws.
During the State of the Union, President Barack Obama announced that he, using his executive power, would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for workers on new government contracts. He also called on Congress to match that wage for all workers.
Reported with KCET Staff