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Upping the minimum: Prop 206 would raise minimum wage and add sick time requirements

10/26/16

Elizabeth Medora
Staff

NORTH VALLEY – Raising the minimum wage has been repeatedly referenced in the 2016 election, and Arizona voters will soon have the opportunity to decide whether or not to raise the state minimum. Proposition 206, The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act, would gradually raise the minimum wage from $8.05 to $12 per hour. This ballot measure also would require employers to allow employees to accrue ‘earned paid sick time’, at least one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, starting July 1, 2017. The ballot measure includes modifications for small businesses and businesses with employees who receive tips.

Prop 206 would amend Sec. 3 Section 23-363, Arizona Revised Statutes. According to the text of the ballot measure in the 2016 General Election Publicity Pamphlet, minimum wage would increase by these increments:

Not less than:

  1. $10 on and after January 1, 2017.
  2. $10.50 on and after January 1, 2018.
  3. $11 on and after January 1, 2019.
  4. $12 on and after January 1, 2020.

After 2020, the minimum wage would go up on Jan. 1 of each year based on the cost of living, as measured by the percentage increase of the consumer price index as of August of each year. The amount of the increase would be rounded to the nearest multiple of five cents.

Under Prop 206, employees would be able to earn paid sick time and could not be required to find their own substitute worker for sick days. Employers could require documentation for three or more consecutive sick days.

In the Fiscal Impact Statement from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the JLBC Staff called it “difficult to determine the impacts of the proposition on either state revenue or spending in advance.”

“By increasing wages and business costs, the proposition may affect individual income tax, corporate income tax and sales tax collections,” the Fiscal Impact Statement notes.

Proponents of Prop 206 include Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Phoenix Vice Mayer Kate Gallego, and Maricopa County District 5 Supervisor Steve Gallardo, as well as multiple individuals from around the state.

“Fair wages will save many businesses time and money through better employee performance and retention,” Stanton wrote in a letter in the 2016 General Election Publicity Pamphlet. “It also expands businesses’ customer base because when employees have more disposable income, they invest those dollars back into our economy.”

 

Avondale student James Myers also wrote a letter in the 2016 General Election Publicity Pamphlet in support of Prop 206, which he says “will make a real different to me and others who are working hard to improve our standard of living and lead healthy lives.”

“Not having the option to earn sick days as I work and go to school also makes life challenging knowing that an emergency or health setback could suddenly diminish my ability to support myself on any given day. It could mean the loss of much-needed funds to pay for food, school, and bills; or even worse – losing my job altogether,” Myers wrote.

Opponents of Prop 206 say that raising the minimum wage will hurt both businesses and entry-level workers.

“There are tens of thousands of low-skilled workers in Arizona, especially young men and women, people like me when I first got into the work force, who would get a pink slip and be tossed out into the street,” wrote Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio in the 2016 General Election Publicity Pamphlet.

Glenn Hamer, President and CEO, and Dennis Dahlen, Chairman of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry co-wrote a letter in the 2016 General Election Publicity Pamphlet opposing Prop 206.

“Business faced with the extreme hike in costs and new workplace mandates will be left with bad options. Employers could cut [or] lay off employees, raise prices, institute hiring freezes, invest in automation that will make employees unnecessary, or even close up shop,” Hamer and Dahlen wrote.

“Arizona already has a minimum wage higher than the federal mandate that is adjusted annually for the cost of living. This proposed dramatic wage spike would only worsen our rotten labor participation rate that currently sits at a level not seen since the 1970s,” Hamer and Dahlen asserted.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry has spent $25,036.78 in contributions to the No on Prop 206 campaign, according to the 2016 General Election Ballot Measure Notifications spreadsheet from the Secretary of State’s Office. No other organizations are listed as having contributed to that opposition campaign.

CPD Action, a New York-based organization that describes itself online as a movement “fighting for a future of opportunity, equality, and inclusion” has spent $500,000 on the supporting campaign, according to the Ballot Measure Notifications spreadsheet. Other contributors to the supporting campaign include United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 99 and the National Education Association.

Read the full text of Prop 206, as well as filed arguments for and against the measure, online at http://apps.azsos.gov/election/2016/BallotMeasure/BallotMeasureList.htm.

Ensure you know what you need to bring to the polls and check the location of your polling place at www.azsos.gov/elections/voting-election.