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California voters could get to decide whether the state minimum wage goes up to $18 an hour, at a time when rising prices and living costs are eating into workers’ household incomes.

Joe Sanberg, a Los Angeles investor and anti-poverty activist, spearheaded the Living Wage Act of 2022, which was filed with the state attorney general’s office Friday. Sanberg said he will finance the signature-gathering process to qualify the ballot initiative for the November election. It would gradually increase the state minimum wage starting in 2023, then rise to $18 an hour for all-sized businesses by 2026.

The current minimum wage is due to reach $15 an hour for large businesses starting in January, and for all businesses by 2023. The state minimum is now $14 an hour for businesses with 26 or more employees and $13 an hour for smaller businesses.

“If you work full time, you should be able to live with full financial security, and that’s not the case in California,” Sanberg said in an interview. “We were a leader in pushing for a $15 minimum wage, but now we have to move the ball forward and farther. It’s overdue for $18.”

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