Santa Barbara- S County

Minimum Wage Workers' Pay Increases Tuesday

California's Minimum Wage Jumps From $8 To $9-An Hour July 1

Minimum Wage Increases Tuesday

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Californian workers' earning minimum wage will see an-dollar increase starting Tuesday.

Santa Barbara County has a large service industry with low-paying and often minimum wage jobs.

"This is a big increase and it's a long time coming," said Kristy Schmidt, the director of administrative services at the City of Santa Barbara.

She said the new minimum wage will help some residents get by a little easier.

"It's very expensive to live in Santa Barbara, and some of our entry-level positions make close to or at the minimum wage," said Schmidt.

David Mendoza was just hired as a downtown parking lot operator and is happy with his new job. He said he won't have to wait to see the extra cash in his check because the city started him out at $9 an hour because the increase was just around the corner.

His previous job at a sandwich shop paid $8 an hour, and he said it was a struggle.

"Every two weeks I'd pretty much get through a week and a half and then I'd pretty much be broke. If I had to pay a bill that week, I'd be broke at the end of the week. It was pretty terrible but it's good to know the city pays the way they do," said Mendoza.

After being on the job for a year, Mendoza could make $10.70, and that number could increase, if he stays for another year, to $12.40 an hour.

Since 2008, the minimum wage has been stuck at just $8 an hour.

"A lot of people at the top are making way too much and a lot of people at the bottom aren't making enough. So however we can equalize that is a good thing in my viewpoint," said Richard Winzeler, a Los Angeles resident visiting Santa Barbara.

After Tuesday's increase, low-wage workers will see another jump in pay in January 2016.

"There's such a high concentration of wealth in Santa Barbara that it's hard to see those of us that don't have that wealth and how we are surviving among the high density of wealth," said Autumn Alvarez, a Santa Barbara resident.

Washington state has the highest minimum wage $9.32 an hour, and Georgia and Wyoming tie for the lowest at just $5.15 an hour.

Click here for state by state wage comparisons.

Click here for hourly positions at the City of Santa Barbara.

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