CommunityElections

Minimum Wage Increase Might Be Put on California’s Ballot…By a Conservative

Ron Unz

Ron Unz

This could potentially be one of the most significant, impactful and interesting ballot initiative campaigns next year.

A rich California conservative is pushing to have his state lead the way on significantly raising the minimum wage. From the New York Times:

Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley millionaire, rose to fame by promoting a ballot initiative that essentially eliminated bilingual education in California. He went on to become publisher of The American Conservative, a libertarian-leaning magazine.

But after decades in the conservative movement, Mr. Unz is pursuing a goal that has stymied liberals: raising the minimum wage. He plans to pour his own money into a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage in California to $10 an hour in 2015 and $12 in 2016, which would make it by far the highest in the nation. Currently, it is $8 — 75 cents higher than the federal minimum. […]

Labor union leaders and top Democrats in the state said they were not aware of the plan, though Mr. Unz said he would welcome their help.

If this measure makes it on the ballot, which is no easy task, there is a very good chance it will be approved. Ballot measures increasing the minimum wage have been extremely successful in the past. Just this month New Jersey voters overwhelming approved a small increase in their minimum wage. National polling also shows there is strong support for an increase.

This could be one strange situation where a lone conservative millionaire ends up pushing the Democratic establishment in the state to the left on this issue.

Of course talk is cheap, but getting something on the ballot is hard. Until you see Unz actually starting to really invest the kind of money necessary for a successful campaign, healthy scepticism is recommended. That said, this is at least a story worth keeping an eye on.

CommunityFDL Main Blog

Minimum Wage Increase Might Be Put on California’s Ballot…By a Conservative

Ron Unz

Ron Unz

This could potentially be one of the most significant, impactful and interesting ballot initiative campaigns next year.

A rich California conservative is pushing to have his state lead the way on significantly raising the minimum wage. From the New York Times:

Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley millionaire, rose to fame by promoting a ballot initiative that essentially eliminated bilingual education in California. He went on to become publisher of The American Conservative, a libertarian-leaning magazine.

But after decades in the conservative movement, Mr. Unz is pursuing a goal that has stymied liberals: raising the minimum wage. He plans to pour his own money into a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage in California to $10 an hour in 2015 and $12 in 2016, which would make it by far the highest in the nation. Currently, it is $8 — 75 cents higher than the federal minimum. […]

Labor union leaders and top Democrats in the state said they were not aware of the plan, though Mr. Unz said he would welcome their help.

If this measure makes it on the ballot, which is no easy task, there is a very good chance it will be approved. Ballot measures increasing the minimum wage have been extremely successful in the past. Just this month New Jersey voters overwhelming approved a small increase in their minimum wage. National polling also shows there is strong support for an increase.

This could be one strange situation where a lone conservative millionaire ends up pushing the Democratic establishment in the state to the left on this issue.

Of course talk is cheap, but getting something on the ballot is hard. Until you see Unz actually starting to really invest the kind of money necessary for a successful campaign, healthy scepticism is recommended. That said, this is at least a story worth keeping an eye on.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com

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