Earth Notes
2:10 am
Thu March 16, 2006

AZ Minimum Wage Increase?

Phoenix, AZ – The statewide survey conducted by the Social Research
Laboratory at Northern Arizona University shows that 81
percent of those asked support a ballot initiative to
create a state minimum wage of $6.75 an hour next year.
If approved in November, the measure also requires
automatic annual cost-of-living increases after that.
Pollster Fred Solop said he found that only one person
out of seven was opposed to the idea. That's bad news
for Farrell Quinlan. He's the spokesman for the Arizona
Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

(The business community has a consistent opposition to
higher minimum wage or an Arizona minimum wage that's
higher than the federal wage. We think that it
suppresses job growth and actually hurts the people
that it's designed to help.)

But Quinlan acknowledged his organization faces an
uphill fight -- even in Arizona where voters have
traditionally sided with business over labor. In fact
similar measures were approved two years ago in both
Florida and Nevada -- both red states that voted to
reelect President Bush. The poll results cheered Gov.
Janet Napolitano.

(They haven't had a minimum wage raise hike in a long
time. I think it's very interesting how popular it is.
People recognize that when you work you ought to make
enough to live on.)

Backers of the initiative claim they already have half
of the 122,000 signatures they need by July 6 to put
the measure on the ballot. In Phoenix, for Arizona
Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.