SJSV Chamber Writes to Cities Association Board of Directors RE Regional Minimum Wage

 Cities Association Board of Directors: 

On behalf of the San Jose Silicon Valley (SJSV) Chamber of Commerce, our 70-member board of directors and our 1,400 member businesses, I am writing to express our significant concern and opposition to the Silicon Valley moving ahead of the recent state-wide minimum wage increase. 

Earlier this year, Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 3. SB3 will increase the minimum wage across all California cities to $15 per hour by 2022 and 2023 for companies employing 25 or fewer employees (there is a one-year implementation delay for small business). 

We feel that expediting or moving at a rate faster than the state will negatively impact the positive business growth that has been occurring in Silicon Valley since the Great Recession. We feel strongly that business owners and operators need increased flexibility to increase and lower wage rates based on economic cycles, not government mandates. Many employers have already adjusted their entry level and lowest skilled positions to rates higher than the existing minimum wage to address both the challenges of worker recruitment and retention, but also the higher cost of living in Silicon Valley. To mandate an even higher minimum wage that lacks flexibility due to economic cycles is an extremely risky public policy that will inhibit small business development and growth. 

This year, regional leaders are looking to enact policies on local business that will expedite an increase in the minimum wage, increase the sales tax, increase business license taxes, increase property taxes and increase the regulatory burdens on business – and then at the same time expect those same employers to look at our region as the best place to invest and do business in California. Collectively, these measures will negatively impact businesses’ ability to operate and ultimately hinder employment opportunities in Silicon Valley. 

Regional leaders should be taking steps to make Silicon Valley more business friendly and enacting strategies to help businesses increase employment, not lessen employment by making it more difficult for small business to survive in all of our local cities. 

On behalf of the SJSV Chamber of Commerce, I ask that you take a very close look at the impacts of an expedited regional increase to the state minimum wage, and that you take into account the employment opportunities and economic growth that this aggressive strategy can potentially stifle.