Several restaurants in Sacramento, California, are closing because they cannot pay the minimum wage increase, which together with the high cost of rents makes it economically unviable to operate.
The state, ruled by Democrats, raised minimum wage by $1 an hour from 2017 and projects that by 2023 $15 an hour will be paid in establishments with 25 or fewer employees, according to the state’s Department of Industrial Relations.
“California is a rough state to do small business,” Paul Fraga said. “They want everybody to make $20 an hour, but for the smaller guy, I can’t afford that,” he added, according to CBS Sacramento.
Fraga is the owner of the popular Perry’s restaurant, located along Highway 99, which last served its customers on Dec. 15, mostly cops and truckers who searched for food at night.
Phil Courey, owner of Opa! Opa!, a Greek restaurant, is staying open until Dec. 29 at the request of his community.
“The wages are definitely a heavy pressure on us,” he said. “About 40 grand a year every time they jack up the minimum wage,” he said, considering the operating costs are unsustainable, in statements to CBS Sacramento.
Also, Patricia Smith, one of the customers, lamented the closing of the restaurant as a cultural loss.
“It’s really sad just thinking about this,” Smith said. “It’s an institution. This is a Sacramento institution.”
For Courey, the succession of hundreds of restaurants that will close their doors will continue throughout the coming year.
The new increase will be effective Jan. 1, 2020, and is expected to affect many other small businesses in the state.
The laws imposed by California’s Democratic rulers have had a high impact on the quality of life in the state, one of which is the controversial Proposition 47, which prevents police from arresting those who steal goods worth less than $950, which led to an increase in shoplifting.
“It’s unbearable. It’s out of control. You’ll have the same guy coming in five times a day, picking things out,” said Jassi Dhillon, owner of 7-Eleven franchise, according to NBC San Diego.
The Democratic-governed state suffers from other shocking problems such as the crisis of the homeless living on the streets.
California has the largest homeless population in the country, with 129,972 people living on the streets in 2018.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Education estimated that during the 2016-2017 school year, 246,296 public school students became homeless.