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Minimum Wage Hike Would Give Marginal Boost In Costly California

Sacramento, CA — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing a $1-an-hour increase in the state´s minimum wage over two years.

But some Democrats say it´s not enough. Others within the governor´s own Republican party are angered that he proposed the increase at all, fearing it will hurt businesses.

Whatever the proposal´s ultimate fate, the modest increase is likely to provide only a slight improvement to those living on then margins in the nation´s costliest state.

Schwarzenegger vetoed legislation last fall that would have boosted the minimum wage a dollar an hour by July 2007.

But in his State of the State speech last month, the governor said the economy has improved enough that the state´s minimum wage needed to be increased over the next two years.

His office is trying to negotiate a compromise with the Legislature´s Democratic leaders. The last boost came in 2002, when California´s minimum wage was increased by 50 cents an hour.