Goodbye California! When the tax base goes, you have a broke economy. Small businesses will be leaving in droves.

California legislators and labor unions on Saturday reached a tentative agreement that will take the state’s minimum wage from $10 to $15 an hour, a state senator said, a move that would make for the largest statewide minimum in the nation by far.

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Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who stressed that the deal was not yet finalized, told The Associated Press the proposal would go before the Legislature as part of his minimum-wage bill that stalled last year.

Leno said the deal would avoid taking the issue to the ballot. One union-backed initiative has already qualified for the ballot, and a second, competing measure is also trying to qualify.

“This is an issue I’ve been working on for many years,” Leno said. “The governor and stakeholders have all been negotiating earnestly and in good faith for some time.”

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Leno did not confirm specifics of the agreement, but most proposals have the wage increasing about a dollar per year until it reaches $15 per hour.

The Los Angeles Times, which first reported the deal, said the wage would rise to $10.50 in 2017, to $11 an hour in 2018, and one dollar per year to take it to $15 by 2022. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees would have an extra year to comply.

At $10 an hour, California already has one of the highest minimum wages in the nation along with Massachusetts. Only Washington, D.C., at $10.50 per hour is higher. The hike to $15 would make it the highest statewide wage in the nation by far, though raises are in the works in other states that might change by the time the plateau is reached in 2022.
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