What $15 an hour could do

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Why I voted no on $15,” Opin­ion, June 15

Thank you for pub­lish­ing Los An­ge­les City Coun­cil­man Mitchell Eng­lan­der’s op-ed on the min­i­mum wage.

As a small-busi­ness owner I am con­cerned about the ex­is­tence of my busi­ness and my abil­ity to both em­ploy peo­ple and sup­port my fam­ily. I am cer­tain that the in­crease in la­bor costs — the min­i­mum wage will rise to $15 per hour by 2020 — com­pounded with the steep rise in in­gre­di­ent costs will force my bak­ery to both in­crease prices and re­duce work­ing hours.

This is not about greed or in­creased profit for me — this is about be­ing able to ex­ist as a busi­ness. I sus­pect that with­out com­pre­hen­sive re­form in the way busi­nesses are taxed in Los An­ge­les and frankly the coun­try, the model of the small fam­ily busi­ness will sim­ply be­come un­sus­tain­able.

I com­mend Eng­lan­der for rep­re­sent­ing these con­cerns.

Dan Messinger

Los An­ge­les

I own a busi­ness and am for Los An­ge­les’ new min­i­mum wage. Eng­lan­der, the lone City Coun­cil mem­ber to cast a “no” vote on the wage or­di­nance, is cor­rect that some busi­nesses will cut back work­ers’ hours, elim­i­nate jobs or re­lo­cate; how­ever, wages are ex­ploita­tive where they are at now.

In the long term, higher wages will ben­e­fit ev­ery­one in Los An­ge­les. Peo­ple who earn more money spend more on goods, ser­vices and hous­ing. Weak busi­nesses that can­not make it un­der the new min­i­mum wage law will be re­placed by stronger busi­nesses.

Ex­pect­ing the public, pri­vate and non­profit sec­tors to come to­gether and put “skin in the game” to col­lab­o­rate and solve this prob­lem is un­re­al­is­tic. It is time for a change, even if that change amounts to a min­i­mum-wage experiment.

As a busi­ness owner, I have learned that if peo­ple pay more in wages, they also re­ceive more in the form of worker loy­alty, lower train­ing costs due to less turnover and more pro­duc­tiv­ity, as work­ers who are hap­pier pro­duce bet­ter re­sults.

Bernard Hoff­man

Los An­ge­les

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