By Marc Lifsher
February 9, 2014, 5:04 p.m.

SACRAMENTO — California’s minimum wage is pegged to go up $1 an hour to $9 on July 1 and by another buck in 2016.

But that isn’t high enough or fast enough for Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley software entrepreneur who has dabbled in state politics over the years.

The 52-year-old multimillionaire hopes to put a measure on the November ballot raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour March 1, 2015, and to $12 a year later.

Unz said he’s confident he will get the needed signatures of 504,760 registered voters by the June deadline.

Raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour is a sure-fire way to fight poverty, which is widespread in California because of the high cost of living, Unz said.

Unz’s proposed wage hikes “automatically would cut social-welfare spending … by tens of billions of dollars because the workers are not so poor,” he said.

That’s an attractive proposal for many other fiscal conservatives, said Unz, who described himself as a libertarian-leaning conservative.

What’s more, he said, a $12-an-hour minimum wage would have little noticeable effect on the cost of goods, boosting inflation by less than 1%.

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