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Op-Ed By Tom Reed and Jorge Valdez, co-owners of Iguana Imports in Long Beach and by Gary Hytrek, professor of geography at California State University, Long Beach.
Signal Tribune, Feb 27, 2024

Long Beach’s tourism and hospitality industries came roaring back in 2023, delivering a nearly $1.8 billion economic impact citywide. While this was great news for those at the top, our city’s struggling small businesses and working families have been shut out of the windfall ... We have a chance to fix that. On March 5, Long Beach voters will have the opportunity to vote in favor of small businesses and working families by supporting Measure RW. A “Yes” on Measure RW will raise the minimum wage for hundreds of Long Beach hotel workers, putting more money in their pockets to spend at local businesses. ...

What’s more, contrary to the many myths about increases in minimum wages, thirty years of research refutes the claim that increasing the minimum wage causes increased unemployment and business closures. In reality, the foundations for a healthy economy are built on workers being paid enough to actually live, so they can support local restaurants, auto shops, pharmacies, and grocery stores. 

Equally important are the effects on the hotels and hotel service. As Holly Sklar of Business For a Fair Minimum Wage reports, “When workers are paid enough to live on, they don’t have the continual stress of worrying how they will make rent or afford other basics. They are happier and more productive.” 

We’ve seen this virtuous cycle before: when wages are boosted, families and the local economy thrive. ...

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