The first hearing focused on general statistics and demographics. Presentations were made by United Way about a so-called "Real Cost" model, which sought to determine basic worker needs (although questions were raised about the number of minimum wage earners factored into the households surveyed). An economist from Sacramento State presented local minimum wage data purporting to reveal the number of minimum wage workers in the county by industry and occupation. The legitimacy and relevancy of the reported numbers was questioned since the data used covered the entire county instead of being specific to the city. There was also no distinction made between tipped minimum wage workers and non-tipped minimum wage workers in the report, which is critical for determining who really benefits from any wage increase.
Following these presentations, attending CRA members gave heartfelt and fact-based testimony about their businesses. Some spoke about their restaurant's long-standing relationships with the community while others explained the challenges and uncertainties they already face in dealing with paid sick leave, health care, workers' comp and other cost issues. Others discussed the possibility that a super minimum wage increase would force layoffs of their extended restaurant family or even the closure of their business. The CRA's Sacramento lobbyist, John Kabateck, told the Task Force that Sacramento's business community (Keep Sacramento Working) deserves a responsible and reasonable approach to any minimum wage increase - an approach which takes small businesses, jobs and Sacramento's economic competitiveness into consideration.
The next Task Force hearing will take place Wednesday, August 5, from 4-6 p.m. at Sacramento City Hall. This hearing will focus on the economic impact of a minimum wage on Sacramento and will also include a public comment period.
If you are a CRA member, restaurant owner or friend of the industry, your presence at these hearings is critical! Please make it a priority to also attend the final two meetings on August 12 and August 26. Your presence is important at each hearing - even if you are not willing to speak. Register here today!