State Capitol News
Wed March 21, 2012
State Lawmakers Pull Bill Designed to Kill State Minimum Wage
Workers at the bottom of the pay scale are going to keep getting raises each year to match inflation -- at least for the time being.
In 2006 voters approved creation of a state minimum wage of $6.75 an hour. That was when the federal minimum wage was just $5.15. This year House Majority Leader Steve Court sought to put the question back to voters, saying the initiative is an ongoing problem for employers. That's because the figure is adjusted annually according to the Consumer Price Index. The result is a current state minimum wage of $7.65, 40 cents higher than the current federal requirement, something Steve Chucri of the Arizona Restaurant Association said is a problem.
"I don't think it's about cheap labor," said Chucri. "The fundamental premise we have and concern with is people are going to get increases every single year without merit. That's problematic for our industry."
But Republican Leader Court said Tuesday he was pulling the plug on the plan.
"The stakeholders interested in doing that have done some polling and didn't feel like they could fight that fight this year," he said. "They didn't feel they had the backing to do the advertising necessary to get it to the ballot."
Chucri said that's true, saying it will take more time and money to -- quote -- get our message right. So the plan now is to look at a ballot fight in 2014.