A poll taken by the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce shows 40 percent of their members contend increases in the minimum wage have forced them to decrease their workforce.

The poll comes as the City Council prepares to deliberate the impact of the minimum wage after hearing presentations from two consultants who came up with different results in studying the city’s minimum wage. The wage is scheduled to rise to $15 an hour next year. The ordinance includes a mandated “pause” in the increase for the City Council to examine the ordinance before increasing the wage to $14.25 an hour on July 1 and $15 an hour on July 1, 2020.

“When we took action, obviously the state’s action had not taken place. The question now is does it make sense to be on our own track,” said Councilman Andy Wilson. State law implements the $15 an hour wage in 2022. “Certainly it’s putting some stress on labor-intensive business, but it’s putting more money in people’s pockets.”

Wilson said he is eager to hear from local residents on the issue.

“It should be an interesting discussion,” Wilson said.

The chamber polled nearly 2,000 members and received 416 responses.

Full-service restaurants accounted for fewer than 20 percent of respondents, according to the chamber. Restaurant owners have been driving the push to adopt the state schedule.

“Our poll results bear out what the data collected by the city’s consultants also shows, that employment opportunities and payroll costs have remained the same since 2015,” said chamber President and CEO Paul Little. “What that means is that employers, especially those with low-wage and low-skilled jobs, are cutting back on hours for their employees so they can stay in business.”

The poll also revealed that 54 percent of business owners raised prices, 41 percent did not hire new employees, 38 percent did not hire temporary or seasonal youth employees, 32 percent demanded a higher skill level from minimum-wage employees, and 9 percent of businesses relocated outside of Pasadena.

If the council adopts the state’s schedule, wages will be frozen for two years while the state wage increases to $14 an hour. Currently the state’s minimum wage is $12 an hour.

  André Coleman