Richmond is attempting to solve several issues at the same time.
One, we are helping residents by providing a wage that will help more families live with dignity.
Two, we are helping businesses.
When residents have more to spend, more disposable income, they spend it. When they spend it, demand increases. When demand increases, business improves; businesses thrive. When business improves and thrive, more people get hired. When those who want to work work, we create a healthy thriving city.
Minimum wage increases have been shown to act as a stimulus to those cities where it was raised. A recent article in the San Jose Mercury stated, “A year later, it is clear that raising San Jose’s minimum wage has been an incredible success.
The data show that under San Jose’s minimum wage, unemployment was reduced, the number of businesses grew, the number of minimum wage jobs expanded, average employee hours remained constant and the economy was stimulated.”
In fact, I know several Richmond employers who already pay their employees at least $12 an hour and they are quite successful. They shared with me that when employees make a wage that they can live on, turn over is low thus allowing for stability in their business.
There are some who say Richmond isn’t in a bubble. We can’t just raise it in Richmond and not have it affect businesses negatively because people can shop in the nearby cities. We are not in a bubble. But when other cities see the difference that it makes here in Richmond, the people will demand change in their cities as well.
FDR once said, “The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little.”- Franklin D. Roosevelt
~ Jovanka Beckles is the Vice Mayor of the City of Richmond.