By Bruce Fry, SJFB President
I’m on my soapbox, one last time. Assemblyman Luis Alejo, a democrat from Salinas, introduced AB 10 Minimum Wage: Annual Adjustment. His proposal is to raise the minimum wage by increments to $9.25 by Jan. 1, 2016. To break it down: 2014: $8.25, 2015: $8.75, 2016: $9.25 and every year after adjusted by the rate of inflation. That is a 15 percent increase over the next three years.
Assemblyman Alejo, this is not a good idea. This is a “job killer bill” dubbed by the California Chamber of Commerce. The problem is where does it stop? Why don’t we just raise it to $25 per hour for every employee? That way it is a fair wage for all.
Entry-level employees receive differentiation of pay for a reason: work ethic, responsibility, skills… in other words, based on their experience. Employees are not stuck at this pay spot either. They are just simply starting their career and are climbing the ladder, that is if they have the work ethic, which now-a-days is sometimes hard to find with all the government programs that are paying people to stay home rather than looking for a job.
As employees improve their skills and responsibility, so will their pay, when the business can economically afford it. Recently, in several sectors feasible, but now with the markets changing it can and has happened.
But we must also remember all the other new costs businesses are taking on too: Obama Care, reduction of federal tax credit and who knows what else these crazy politicians will come up with. So, let the labor market and businesses set the cost per hour of the employee, not Luis Alejo. This bill just passed the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee on a 5-2 vote. Now it’s on to the Appropriations Committee. It’s time to write letters.
This is a great example of why all of us need to be involved in the political process and vote out politicians like Luis Alejo and replace them with business-minded legislators. Let’s get these politicians back to the basics. Vote for a fiscally responsible budget, reduce burdens on business, reduce taxes and watch the economy begin to grow. Pretty simple concept, but hard for them to understand.
Lastly, after two years now of being president of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau, I’m still sticking to my theme, “Tell your story, create relationships and make change happen!” From my experience from the last six years as an officer of the Farm Bureau, that is how things got done.
For example, telling my family’s nightmare story on estate tax. I was able to help change CFBF and AFBF policy on estate tax this past year, which I believe will help policy discussions in the future and hopefully one day exempt agriculture from the devastating tax. Let’s keep the discussion going and hope for some change. Now, whose story is next?
Finally, I want to say I have enjoyed immensely the opportunity to serve the San Joaquin Farm Bureau as president these last two years. As my term comes to an end, there are so many great experiences, people and lessons I have enjoyed on my journey.
My journey has ended as president of the Farm Bureau but I will continue being passionate about agriculture and keeping the family farm economically viable. May God bless all the farmers and ranchers of San Joaquin County, California and the United States of America.