Governor Backs Higher Minimum Wage--Too Late

United Press International

Gov. George Deukmejian said Wednesday that he was in favor of raising the state's minimum wage above the federal minimum of $3.35 an hour, but his comment came too late to help an Assembly bill that would have boosted the level to $4.50.

The bill, by Assemblyman Richard Floyd (D-Hawthorne), fell one vote short of the number needed to advance to the floor from the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee.

Deukmejian told reporters at a news conference that he thought there was "a need to increase the minimum wage."

"I don't know what level that should take," however, he added. "That is the job of the Industrial Welfare Commission to find out. They've started that process."

First Sign of Support

It was the first time the Republican governor said he favored an increase. A month earlier, he had said he would await the Industrial Welfare Commission's biennial review. The six-member commission is required to determine every two years whether the minimum wage is enough to pay for the "proper living" of a single worker employed full time.

Floyd, meanwhile, promised to introduce a new proposal next year to keep alive his annual bid to boost the minimum wage.

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