Thanks to voters' passage of Proposition J in 2014, San Francisco's minimum wage increased 75 cents today from $12.25 to $13. ABC 7 reports that this increase is one step in the larger process of raising the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018. It will increase by a dollar in July of next year, and then another dollar again on July 1, 2018.
This increase is separate from California's minimum wage increase, which is set to reach $15 an hour by 2022.
Despite protestations from businesses over the years that a rising minimum wage would be the death of them, the Chronicle reports that while the minimum wage has increased 21 percent since 2014, San Francisco unemployment has actually fallen during that time from 5 percent to 2.9 percent. At the same time, the paper notes, the labor force has grown.
One small business owner, Christan Evans of Booksmith, shared her thoughts on the wage increase with CBS 5. “What we see is that low-income workers actually spend the money that they earn, and so it’s great to have those dollars going to people who are going to spend it," said Evans. "It’ll actually boost the economy."
San Francisco business owners have made a huge stink about a rising minimum wage before, with one of the owners of Abbot's Cellar, Nat Cutler, going so far as to partially blame his restaurant's closure on the wage hike. It wasn't too long after that, however, that Uptown Almanac noticed Abbot's Cellar's other co-owner, Christian Albertson, acknowledged the restaurant closed for another reason entirely — it couldn't draw crowds.
"It was too big, and ultimately we’re a fine dining place — and were competing with the hundreds of other fine dining places that are kind of like us," Albertson explained on The Beer Curmudgeon's Podcast. "And we didn’t differentiate ourselves. [...] It wasn’t enough to bring in enough people fast enough."
While predictions of doom and gloom are certainly overblown, you should expect some businesses to raise prices as a result of the increase. One such business, Andytown Coffee Roasters, explained the logic behind the increase in a letter posted to their cafe window.
"By paying a little more for your coffee," the notice reads, "you get to increase the quality of life for our team and keep these hard-working and multi-talented people living and working in the beautiful city we all call home."
This, right here, is how to run a business in San Francisco. pic.twitter.com/D53fHt5Uaf— Eve Batey (@eveb) June 28, 2016
Meanwhile, the Chronicle helpfully informs us (as if we needed the reminder) that, according to PayScale, the cost of living in SF is 63 percent higher than the national average. So, enjoy that extra 75 cents.