(PHOENIX) – The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce (GPCC) today announced its opposition to the passage of Arizona’s Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act initiative, which would increase Arizona’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020 and mandates that all employers provide employees with paid sick leave.
The measure would:
- Harm Arizona’s competitiveness with other states by implementing a minimum wage that far exceeds the federal minimum wage.
- Disproportionately affect small businesses by limiting their ability to grow and hire more employees.
- Force employers to raise prices for goods and services to remain profitable.
- Cause business owners to have no other recourse other than to lay off employees or reduce their hours.
- Result in some jobs being eliminated permanently or outsourced altogether as business owners will likely look to reduce expenses.
“While we wholeheartedly support hard-working, healthy families and fair wages, this particular proposal is not an effective economic policy,” said Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Public Affairs Mike Huckins. “In fact, this measure has the potential to eliminate more jobs than it would create. In addition, it does nothing to address local governments adopting a higher minimum wage above what this measure calls for, furthering the dangerous potential for a patchwork of wage and benefit policies across the state.”
As one of 29 states that have minimum wages above the $7.25 federal minimum wage, Arizona already has a policy in place in which voters approved in 2006, that includes a provision for the minimum wage to increase on an annual basis.
Huckins added, “Passing this measure would have negative consequences, not only from the perspective of the workers the wage increase is intended to benefit, but also for our state’s economy.”
A group called Arizonans for Fair Wages and Healthy Families filed paperwork in April 2016 for the November ballot measure with the Arizona Secretary of State. The Arizonans for Fair Wages and Healthy Families campaign must collect 150,642 signatures from registered voters by July 7 to qualify the proposal for the November ballot.
The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce also opposes the measure’s mandatory paid sick time.
“This initiative also mandates that employees of large companies receive 40 hours a year in paid sick leave and businesses with less than 15 employees provide 24 hours of annual paid sick leave,” Huckins said. “This would be yet another mandate that businesses are forced to find money to fund. Many businesses already voluntarily offer paid sick leave without a law requiring them to do so. It’s interesting to note that the initiative exempts collective bargaining agreements from the enforcement of this provision.”
“As a champion of the business community, a mandate of this magnitude would increase prices for consumers,” said Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. “And as the cost of doing business rises, employers will attempt to protect profit margins by reducing the hours and benefits of their employees, as well as cutting back on hiring new employees.”
“The proposed mandated increase in minimum wage would have a negative impact on business and our economy, said Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Economic Development Jennifer Mellor. “We are working to create jobs and grow our economy and a mandated increase would have the reverse effect. Many minimum wage positions are entry-level and provide immediate and long-term growth opportunities. Increasing baseline compensation will likely result in fewer minimum wage, entry-level positions, which far outweighs the benefits of an increase and is counterproductive to economic development and job creation.”
Sanders concluded, “The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce is a pro-business, non-profit organization focused on being a catalyst for economic growth and job creation…policies such as this hinder only that effort, not help it. This measure would limit the ability of a small business to grow.”
About the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Representing 2,400 businesses across Metropolitan Phoenix, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce is Arizona’s largest Chamber. The Chamber supports the growth and development of business by offering networking and marketing opportunities, money-saving programs and a voice in government, keeping its members informed, connected and prosperous. The Chamber also enhances members’ success by promoting economic development, entrepreneurship and a connection to the community.
Jill A. Brownley
O: 602.495.6472 | C: 602.509.4311