California Gov. Jerry Brown says deal reached to raise state's minimum wage

Newspapers confirm tentative $15 minimum deal in California
Newspapers confirm tentative $15 minimum deal in California

(Reuters) - A deal has been reached to raise California's minimum wage, Governor Jerry Brown said on Monday, adding to a wave of minimum wage increases at state level in the United States.

In a brief statement, Brown described it as a "landmark deal" and said he would release details at a press conference later on Monday.

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A legislative source said the proposal, which still must win approval from moderate lawmakers in the state assembly, would gradually raise the state's minimum wage to $15, but give the governor the right to opt out if the economy was struggling.

The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour for more than six years.

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Raising the minimum wage to fight income inequality has cropped up on many Democratic Party candidates' agendas ahead of the November presidential, congressional and state elections.

But the idea has drawn fierce opposition from conservatives and some business groups, who have said a higher minimum would harm small businesses and strain the budgets of government agencies forced to pay more to workers.

Fourteen states and several cities began 2016 with minimum wage increases. Many are now in the midst of multi-year phase-in plans that will ultimately take them to between $10 and $15 an hour.