The road to fiscal folly is paved with good intentions, as Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese has demonstrated.
Raising the minimum wage to $10 per hour in unincorporated areas in Santa Clara County, which Cortese proposed a few months back, would have hurt agricultural operations in the county. Some of those are already on life support. Handing neighboring counties and counties in the San Joaquin Valley an almost $2 per hour economic advantage makes little sense. The county proposal is on hold now, and there it should remain. There are more important county fish to fry so to speak.
And, with Gov. Brown’s signature fresh on a statewide phased-in minimum wage law, that raises the rate to $10 per hour on Jan. 1 2016, there’s no reason to put that back on the SC County Board’s agenda. Unless of course, Cortese wants to up the minimum rate to $14 per hour.
Every legislative jurisdiction seems to want to get in on the act when it comes to hyper politically correct issues. That’s not to say there should not be minimum wage standards, but that works best when the standard is considered with breadth – meaning on a statewide or nationwide level.
Having one minimum wage in Gilroy, for example, another in unincorporated county area, another in Morgan Hill and yet another in San Jose just creates a chaotic mess.
What about a contractor who hires a crew to work in a county-area field and another who works in a city-area field when the pay rates are different?
After a reasonable minimum is set, the market comes into play, and that’s how it should be. There are “minimum wage” type jobs that pay more than that. If you’re a hard worker who shows up and learns, for example, you could make markedly more pumping out fries and burgers at some fast food restaurants in South County.
Cortese should table this proposal for good. It’s already taken care of.