San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer plans to veto a minimum wage increase approved Monday by the City Council -- setting up a clash that will pit the Republican and the business establishment against the city's labor unions and Democrat-controlled council.
With six of nine spots on the council, the Democrats have enough votes to override the expected veto -- the first to be used by Faulconer since he was elected in February to replace Bob Filner, the city’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years.
Business leaders have indicated they may mount a petition drive to qualify the increase for the ballot and then campaign against the measure as a threat to the city’s economy.
Under the council action approved on a strict party-line vote, the minimum wage will increase, in stages, to $11.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017. Statewide, the minimum wage rose to $9 per hour on July 1.
Also included in the action was an earned sick leave provision.
After Monday’s vote, Council President Todd Gloria, a Democrat, called on Faulconer not to use his veto power. Gloria said he hoped Faulconer would see “the good that the increased minimum wage and earned sick leave will bring to all local families and the local economy.”
But minutes later, Faulconer said he will veto the increase because it “puts our job growth in jeopardy and will lead to higher prices and layoffs.”
Jerry Sanders, former mayor and now chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce, said the increase could force businesses to leave San Diego and is effectively "a tax on every San Diego resident."
Once Faulconer formally invokes his veto power, the council has 30 days to override it.
Twice in recent months, the majority on the City Council has lost fights with Faulconer, Sanders and other Republicans: One over a tax measure for low-income housing, the other a zoning plan for the blue-collar Barrio Logan neighborhood. The latter was defeated by voters, the former was rescinded by the council.
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