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Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed a new law that would commit California to a $15 per hour minimum wage by 2022.

Gov. Jerry Brown signs California's new minimum wage law on April 4, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)
Gov. Jerry Brown signs the new minimum wage law on April 4, 2016. (Credit: KTLA)

“This plan raises the minimum wage in a careful and responsible way and provides some flexibility if economic and budgetary conditions change,” Brown said when the deal was announced.

Under the plan, minimum wage was expected to increase to $10.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017 for businesses with 26 or more employees.

The minimum wage would then rise each year until it reaches $15 per hour in 2022.

“This is about economic justice, it’s about people,” Brown said Monday at the bill-signing in Los Angeles. “This is an important day, it’s not the end of the struggle but it’s a very important step forward.”

Just over an hour before Brown spoke Monday, New York’s governor beat him in the signing of such a major minimum wage increase.

But that state’s legislation phases in the $15 wage for various groups and in various regions, starting in New York City in 2018 and moving to the city’s suburbs and to fast-food workers statewide, according to the New York Times. There’s no deadline by which non-fast food workers across New York will receive the $15 wage because the increase will be tied to a schedule created by state officials after 2020.

In his office’s news release, Brown claimed the mantle of being “the first state in the nation to commit to raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour statewide.”

Under the California law, the governor can choose to pause the next year’s wage increase for one year if there is a forecasted budget deficit or poor economic conditions, according to the news release.

“Today California leads the nation once again, passing a historic minimum wage increase that will help lift millions of hardworking men and women out of poverty,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement Monday.

Garcetti was part of the push to raise minimum wage in city of Los Angeles last year.

“We are fighting against income inequality with every tool we have,” Garcetti said.

Brown was joined at Monday’s signing by several supporters of legislation SB 3, which was passed by both houses of the legislature last week.

KTLA’s Melissa Pamer contributed to this article.