On the Living Wage. Irvine is the only city in California cutting its living wage — and reverting to a State minimum wage ($9 per hour) for its low-income workers, such as janitors and landscape workers paid under “outsourced” contracts. While Irvine is moving backwards, other communities — the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, and the entire University of California, including UCI — are moving forward by adopting their own living wage policies that will, step-by-step, lift their own minimum wage to a level of $15 over the next several years.
On the Business License Tax. As part of the Council majority’s commitment to take Irvine in a “different direction,” not only did Councilmembers eliminate the Living Wage Ordinance; the majority also voted to eliminate Irvine’s remarkably low business license tax of $50. Without business license tax revenue, Irvine must nevertheless continue to administer business licenses — at a cost of $625,000 per year. Now, instead of Irvine businesses footing the bill, regular Irvine taxpayers are stuck with the tab. Asking to remain anonymous, one business leader said, “Eliminating the business license tax is really dumb, and it just hurts the ordinary residential taxpayer.” Then, he noted the practices in other cities: Newport Beach has a business license fee, which varies by type of business, from $164 to $820; Costa Mesa’s business license tax varies from $50 to $200 annually; and Mission Viejo requires its businesses to obtain a “certificate of occupancy” for $217.