The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce has 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,” stated Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Public Affairs Mike Huckins, in a press release.
“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, the release stated.
“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,” stated Mr. Huckins in the release.
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,” Mr. Huckins stated in the release. “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.”