April 2, 2015
State Capitol, Room 5100
Sacramento, CA 95814
VIA FAX: 916-651-4911
Re: SB 3 (Leno) Minimum Wage
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Senator Leno,
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAPCA), representing nearly 5000 primary care and subspecialty pediatricians statewide, strongly supports your bill SB 3 to help lift Californians out of poverty by raising the state’s minimum wage. This bill would increase the statesman wage in two steps, starting at $11 an hour in 2016 and increasing additional two dollars per hour in July 2017. Beginning in 2019, the minimum wage should be adjusted annually to the rate of inflation.
Family income, including the level of hourly wages, is a primary determinant of whether or not a child is raised in poverty, and the effects of poverty on children’s health and well-being are well documented. Poor children have increased infant mortality, higher rates of low birth weight and subsequent health and development of problems, increased frequency and severity of chronic diseases such as asthma, greater food insecurity with poorer nutrition and growth, poorer access to quality healthcare, increased unintentional injury and mortality, poor oral health, lower immunization rates, increased rates of obesity and its complications.
Although California has recently taken important steps to improve the pay of low-wage workers, given the higher cost of living here, there is more to be done and it must be done urgently. Under current law, a California worker employed full-time year-round earns only $18,000 before taxes at the current rate of nine dollars an hour. This is not enough for the many single parents who are struggling to provide their children with food shelter and health care to even begin to cover their bills.
The American Academy of Pediatrics in California has joined the American Academy of Pediatrics nationally in making a reduction in childhood poverty a top priority of our organization. We strongly support SB 3 as an important component of a strategy to lessen the burden of poverty on children and their families and to create a stronger California for all of us.
California pediatricians thank you for your leadership and public service.
Chief Executive Officer
American Academy of Pediatrics, California