I recently spoke with small business leaders in the great 13th District about their reaction to the Mayor’s plan to raise the minimum wage over the next few years, and how we can offset the potential burden on the mom and pop businesses that add to the vibrancy in our neighborhoods.

I want everyone in my district to have access to a good paying job, affordable housing, quality health care, safe neighborhoods, recreational opportunities and a well rounded education. We also need to be aware of the small business owner, who is a major employer, as we craft a citywide minimum wage policy. I want to work towards a plan that will lift our low income workers, as well as create a thriving local economy.

As a former manager of a local and independently owned business, I can tell you that a minimum wage increase will have a significant impact. The reality is many of these businesses barely exist on the margins. The State minimum wage was raised to $9 an hour this July and will increase to $10 per hour on January 1, 2016. Cities have the ability to raise the minimum wage locally but it must be done in a manner that is responsible and does not contribute to Los Angeles being viewed as business unfriendly.

We need better paying jobs that provide for career mobility, and we need to make sure that any minimum wage increase does not negatively impact small businesses and cause job losses. Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy -- they provide approximately 75% of the current jobs in Los Angeles. As we begin a healthy debate on the right way to implement a citywide minimum wage, I would like to include business owners in this conversation.

This is where you come in. I need your help in crafting policy that will help workers and the small businesses across our great City. I have created a survey, which you can access here. The survey will provide me with a snapshot of your business, as well as help me better understand the needs of our community. Ultimately, I am hopeful the data you provide can inform how small businesses will be addressed in the minimum wage ordinance.

Please take a moment to fill out the survey, and return it to my office as soon as possible. Feel free to share with other business owners. I will update the results of the survey on shortly after this deadline.

I look forward to reading your replies. Again, the survey can be found here.

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell

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