Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems?  Mixed Opinions about the Effects of Prop 206

Proposition 206 will gradually raise wages to $12 an hour by 2020 and it also requires paid sick leave.

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) –

Some 700,000 Arizonans will be affected by the minimum wage hike voters passed on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Proposition 206 will gradually raise wages to $12 an hour by 2020 and it also requires paid sick leave.

People on both sides of the issue differ on the effect a higher minimum wage might have on employment, prices consumers pay, and the economy, in general.

It runs the gamut, from warnings of layoffs and price hikes to expectations that it can only help the Arizona economy if more people have more money to spend.

Tucson City Councilwoman Regina Romero had pushed for Tucson to pass a law requiring higher wages and benefits.

She believes Prop. 206 will only help the economy and protect working families by putting more money in their pockets.

“Usually, working families put back what they earn into the economy,” said Romero.

Tucson Metro Chamber President &CEO Mike Varney has a different opinion of the effects of the proposition.

“We’ll probably see some small business failures. We’ll probably see some downsizing. Business will react to this and they’ll react by automating, cutting hours, cutting positions altogether,” Varney said.

“The business is going to pass this on to the consumer. The prices are going to rise. We’re all giving to be paying a little bit more for that Big Mac or restaurant meal or what have you,” said Varney. “And that includes the people that are going to be getting more money as part of their minimum wage.”

Tucsonan Jeremy Bunch said he doesn’t mind.

“For people to have a living wage, I think that’s pretty important,” Bunch said. “Help the poor to be healthier and be able to afford to live. It’s just a basic need for people. So I think it’s okay to pay more for restaurant food or any type of entertainment like that so that people can live better.”

One thing the two sides agree on is that small business owners already tend to offer their employees higher salaries and sick leave in order to keep good workers.

“It is the multi-billion dollar corporations that come to our state and abuse the lack of laws that benefit working families in our state. So I think it is protective against a multi-billion dollar company coming to our state and abusing our residents and our workers,” Romero said.

We spoke with two small business owners in Tucson who said they are paying higher wages already.

“Everybody here is already making more than $10 an hour anyway. So, hopefully, it will affect us positively in the fact that people in our community will have more disposable income to come in and buy cool stuff at Pop Cycle,” said Shannon Riggs, co-owner of Pop Cycle.

“Philosophically, I think our country needs to see workers as people who deserve a living wage and that part of your business is to try to accommodate your workers. So I would hate to think people would just willy nilly lay people off and I know that we wouldn’t have to do that,” said Antigone Books co-owner Trudy Mills.

As far as the impact of minimum wage increase, an Arizona legislative committee basically found it’s too soon to tell.

Click HERE for that report.

The first pay hike comes in January, making the minimum wage in Arizona $10 an hour.

Source: Differing opinions on what Prop 206 will do to AZ jobs, economy – Tucson News Now

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