San Francisco Residents Oppose Minimum Wage Hike

  • Publication Date: July 2003

  • Topics: Minimum Wage

A new poll taken on behalf of the Employment Policies Institute, a non-profit think tank specializing in entry-level employment policy issues, finds low support for San Francisco Supervisor Matt Gonzales’ proposed minimum wage hike among San Francisco residents.

The poll, conducted by a nationally respected opinion research company, found that while 61% of San Francisco residents initially supported the idea, support dropped to 33% when participants were told that jobs and businesses might leave the city.

Craig Garthwaite, an economist at the Employment Policies Institute, noted that U.S. labor economists, minimum wage proponents and opponents overwhelmingly agree that minimum wage increases result in low-wage workers being replaced by higher skilled, more educated workers. A majority of San Francisco residents – 56% – opposed an increased minimum wage based on knowledge that some less-skilled workers would lose their jobs.

Polling showed deeper support for anti-poverty measures, such as a local earned income tax credit, that pay money to those in work to supplement their income. This idea was endorsed by 55% of city residents.

Commenting on the results of the poll, Mr. Garthwaite said:

“Where possible businesses will move outside San Francisco’s city limits rather than suffer the inflated business costs of this policy. Research shows that those employers who remain will hire the more-qualified applicants who will be attracted by the higher minimum wage, leaving the least skilled workers out in the cold.”

See a related op-ed in Friday July 11th, 2003’s edition of the San Francisco Business Times .