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The Center on Policy Initiatives is a research and action institute dedicated to creating economic prosperity, sustainable communities and a healthy environment for all. CPI serves a unique role in the San Diego region providing the analysis, policy solutions, education and alliances that advance social and economic justice.

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Minimum Wage Impacts

Documented Impacts of Minimum Wage Increases on Job Growth, Business Health, Consumer Prices, and Family Spending An overview of the U.S. experience, with new findings from San Diego County   June 2016 Peter Brownell, PhD   Introduction and Summary DOWNLOAD REPORT HERE As the cost of living varies from place to place and increases over time, many states and cities have set minimum wages above the federal level and raised them repeatedly. In just the 15 years from 2000 through 2014, the federal minimum wage rose three times and 30 states raised their own wage floors an average of five times each to various levels above the federal wage.[1] In addition, at least nine cities and counties enacted higher local minimum wages during the same time period, with many more following suit or considering proposals to do so since 2014. [2]The minimum wage was first put in place by the U.S. federal government in 1938. It is one of our nation’s most tried and tested policies for improving the lives of the working poor and supporting economic growth through consumer spending. Continue reading

Impacts of Proposition I on San Diego Workers

Impacts of Proposition I on San Diego Workers Cost of Living and Who will Benefit from the Minimum Wage & Earned Sick Days Policy  Proposition I is an initiative on the June 7, 2016, ballot in the City of San Diego that would raise the minimum wage for all jobs in the city to $11.50 in two steps. If Proposition I passes, the city minimum wage will be set at $10.50 right away, and will rise to $11.50 on January 1, 2017. Starting in 2019, it will increase with inflation each year. The measure also gives all workers in the city the right to earn up to five paid sick days per year, two more than are now provided by state legislation. The Minimum Wage and Earned Sick Days policy was passed in 2014 by the San Diego City Council, to provide relief for more than 170,000 people who work for wages too low to make ends meet in high-cost San Diego. The policy was to take effect in 2015, but was stalled by a petition drive that placed it on the June 7 ballot. Continue reading


  Vote YES on Prop I  Vote NO on Prop H Scroll down to read the ballot statements in favor of Prop I and against Prop H   Continue reading

How have San Diego jobs and businesses fared through recent California minimum wage increases?

May 2016 The number of jobs in San Diego County has risen steadily in the past five years, continuing a healthy upward climb through two minimum wage increases. Data from the California Employment Development Department shows that the total number of nonfarm jobs in San Diego County rose continually between early 2012 and March 2016, on a trajectory that didn’t change when the California minimum wage increased from $8 to $9 in July 2014 and again to $10 in January 2016. San Diego County employers have hired an additional 75,800 workers since the state minimum wage rose to $9 in 2014.    Continue reading

Transit tax plan fails to address problems

By Brian Clapper, Monique Lopez & Dale Kelly Bankhead  Read original op-ed here published in The San Diego Union-Tribune San Diegans face two major threats to the health, safety and well-being of our region. The first is that our planet is galloping toward catastrophic climate change which poses a threat to every living thing. The second is rising economic inequality which undermines prosperity and stifles innovation. These crises are inextricably interrelated since we need both prosperity and innovation if we are to effectively combat climate change. Addressing these issues is fundamental to ensuring a high quality of life for generations to come. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) could use its $204 billion transportation plan to address both, by creating high-quality local jobs and investing in reducing transportation emissions, the largest contributor to climate change in the region. Unfortunately, the regressive sales tax measure that the SANDAG Board of Directors is proposing to put on the November 2016 ballot fails to address either crisis. The National City Chamber of Commerce and the organizations in the Quality of Life Coalition are committed to moving San Diego forward to address climate change, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, protect the quality of our air and waterways and responsibly use public dollars to bring good jobs, renewed opportunity and a better quality of life to San Diegans. Continue reading