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Reframing Perspectives on Who’s Helped, Hurt by Minimum Wage Hikes

Urban Planning Professor Chris Tilly spoke to news outlets about the impact of California’s new wage law on fast-food chains as well as smaller businesses. The law sets a $20 minimum hourly wage for fast-food workers at chains with 60 or more restaurants nationwide. But the impact is also felt by local ethnic restaurants and other small businesses, which must compete to retain workers. “These grassroots businesses are part of the glue that holds communities together, and they’re what give the community an identity,” Tilly told the Los Angeles Times. He also spoke to USA Today about the wage hike’s effect on consumer prices and hiring practices. “The big critique of minimum wages is ultimately it’s a job killer, that it hurts the people that you’re trying to help,” but data from the last three decades has not shown those effects, Tilly said. “We do have to think about how to help people. But to do that by hurting other low-income people doesn’t seem like the right strategy to me.”


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