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Libertarian Ron Unz’s Effort to Raise California Minimum Wage Derailed by Lack of Funds

A go-it-alone campaign falters in a state with coalition politics.

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“We’re always looking for ways to improve wages for low-wage workers,” Smith said. “It was questionable to us if this was the right route to take… The next route for us is indexing the minimum wage for inflation. The Unz initiative did not do that.”

The prospect of a state minimum increase in California in 2014 is not completely dead, however. Democratic State Sen. Mark Leno has introduced a bill, co-sponsored by the Senate President, to raise the wage to $13/hour by 2018, in a series of annual increases. That proposal is supported by the California Labor Federation, the Women’s Foundation of California, and Western Center on Law and Poverty. The first legislative hearing on that bill, SB 935, will be held next week.    

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).

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