Court upholds the will of the voters on Minimum Wage initiative (Prop. 206)

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Kiley today denied the Arizona Chamber of Commerce’s attempt to prevent the Minimum Wage initiative (Prop.206) from taking effect as scheduled on January 1. The Chamber, of course, will appeal.

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, Superior Court judge refuses to block minimum wage hike:

RaiseTheWageMaricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Kiley rebuffed arguments by business interests that Proposition 206 should have been split into two separate measures, one to set the minimum at $10 an hour and the other to require that employers give workers at least three days of paid personal leave.

Kiley also said there was no merit to the claim that the initiative violates a state constitutional provision which requires any voter-approved measure to have a separate source of revenues to cover the costs.

The judge said it may be that the state’s Medicaid program will increase what it pays to private contractors that offer nursing home and in-home services that now need pay workers only $8.05 an hour.

But he said nothing in the initiative actually mandates the higher expenditure. And he pointed out that both Arizona law and the contracts with Medicaid providers have provisions which say the state does not have to spend money it does not have.

Today’s ruling is unlikely the last word.

Business interests led by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry are virtually certain to ask the state Supreme Court to intercede between now and the end of the year.

And regardless of whether an injunction is issued and the wages go up on January 1, foes still have the opportunity to challenge the law at a full-blown trial which would likely not occur for months.

Because we are the Chamber of Commerce and we own this state! The will of the voters be damned!

12 responses to “Court upholds the will of the voters on Minimum Wage initiative (Prop. 206)

  1. John Huppenthal

    Oh, come on. If your business plan includes job creation and isn’t selling illegal drugs, it is highly moral.

    According to the economists on channel 8 tonight, Arizona is stagnating. So, we will get to see the actual impact of minimum wage. How many jobs will it wipe out for the poor? We know it will be somewhere between 5,000 in the short run to 60,000 in the longer run.

    • So, if I had decided to go into advanced robotics and work on building machines to replace human labor, that would be immoral?

      Was Eli Whitney a scourge on society because his cotton gin dramatically reduced the need for human labor to process cotton? What about Henry Ford (anti-Semitic beliefs aside)? He sure put a lot of Conestoga wagon crafters and horseshoe blacksmiths out of business!

      I think it’s a little disturbing that you’ve just claimed that the end-all, be-all for morality is ‘job creation’.

      Food for thought, then:

      Think about how many jobs were created as a direct or indirect result of regulations that government put on accounting with Sarbanes-Oxley following the Enron scandal. Or all those compliance staffers that universities have to now hire. What’s extra cost to one business is another job or more revenue to the next.

      • “What’s extra cost to one business is another job or more revenue to the next.”

        But is it appropriate in all cases for the government to be the arbiter of who wins and who loses? And does a government job actually contribute anything to the economy since that job position cannot be paid unless the government takes that money out of the economy to pay it? Government jobs produce nothing and they exist only by government fiat. How many government jobs can an economy support before it begins to stumble? In the last census, the ratio of government jobs to the private sector exceeded 50% and it is still growing.

        It is interesting to note that a significant percentage of the jobs created during the Obama Administration were government jobs which, in my opinion, don’t really count as jobs because they are financed off of tax dollars or deficit spending, not by any increase in productivity or efficiency. A government job feeds off of the economy and does not contribute to it. It essentially is just another form of overhead for the private sector. Of course, Obama apologists used the artificial jump in jobs to boast of a “strong economy”, when the economy is actually marginal right now.

        “Was Eli Whitney a scourge on society because his cotton gin dramatically reduced the need for human labor to process cotton?”

        No, he wasn’t. He greatly improved society because he made a product cheaper and more efficient to produce. Whenever labor gets too expensive, technology will find a way to eliminate it from the process. Assurances to the contrary, the Minimum Wage Raise is going to cost jobs for just that reason. People are expensive and many of them are now pricing themselves out of the market. Technology is already there to replace them once their cost exceeds the break-even point.

        • No, I don’t believe that it’s necessarily the case that government should be picking winners and losers. See: Obamacare. And that’s all I’m going to say about that, lest I get into a diatribe too long for this site.

          But I don’t think that it’s wise to say that all regulation is harmful. I happen to like regulations for product safety and environmental quality. And sure, we can hope that the private sector will provide – see the Underwriters’ Laboratory. But because we are getting into the realm of externalities and the commons, we would expect the private sector to supply an inefficiently low level of production. I think the same would be true of education, without its being taxpayer funded in many cases.

          But I want to turn that point around:

          You stated:

          “In the last census, the ratio of government jobs to the private sector exceeded 50% and it is still growing.”

          I don’t know the actual numbers, but they’re not relevant for the sake of discussion. What this seems to be telling me is that if you take the unemployed, marginally employed, etc. (about 6% of the population), the retired and those in school (10% of those 16-65?) and the 1/3 of the population in the public sector, that we only really need about half of the current potential labor force to actually produce all our goods and services. So, why all the emphasis on work? Seems like we’ve largely reached the point where most people only really need to work 20-25 hours a week to produce all our economy’s stuff, and the rest of that time gets wasted doing bullcrap to satisfy our Protestant Work Ethic, or whatever you want to call it.

  2. Frances Perkins

    Republican legislators (via their bosses the Arizona Chamber, a wholly owned subsidiary of ALEC) to voters,”Droppen zie dead!”

  3. For Sure Not Tom

    If your business plan doesn’t include paying a living wage, your business plan is immoral.

    • It would be better to not even start the business if you can’t pay a living wage, right? You owned and ran a business, Not Tom. Did you pay a living wage? Did you ever stay up at night wondering if you could make payroll? Sitting as an arbiter of morality is not something I suspect you are really prepared to do.

      • For Sure Not Tom

        Well, let’s see, I have a contractors license and I was paying construction workers, so yeah, I paid well above a living wage.

        If you are paying less than a living wage you are taking advantage of another human being so that you can profit.

        That’s immoral.

        • You’re correct, construction generally pays well. My business – engineering services – also pays very well. Both are very competitive fields that requires skills and training – in my case, degree(s) – that take time to acquire and where experience increases your value in the field.

          But what about flipping hamburgers at McDonalds? Low skill, no training to speak of, no advantage to having years of experience doing it, and no real potential for advancement. A great job when you are a teenager trying to enter the workforce or a student needing a job while working their way through school. Does this type of job justify paying a living wage?

          And if every job pays a living wage, where do teenagers seeking that first job go to get experience? Employers paying high wages are likely not to hire them.

          By the way, what is a “living wage”? What standard of living do we want to support with whatever we decide the living wage constitutes? Is it the same living wage all across the country or is it different depending on where you live? If it is adjusted for location, how do we justify that? Flipping hamburgers is flipping hamburgers, so why would the pay be different? If it is the same for everyone, how do we justify that? It costs more to live in New York City or San Francisco than Phoenix or Tucson. What happens when inflation catches up with our living wage and now a person can no longer make a living at it?

          As the Bible says, “The poor we shall always have with us”. Manipulating the economy is tricky business. Traditionally, liberals have a habit of passing laws and then, being satisfied “something has been done”, they walk away, never seeing the destruction they leave in their wake. I fear that is what is happening with Minimum Wage Laws and “living wage” talk.

    • Senator John Kavanagh

      A living wage for a high school student living at home is about $6 an hour.

      • For Sure Not Tom

        The typical minimum wage worker is not a high school student.

        But let’s have a run at your logic. If a high school student made a decent wage, they could pay for their own college, or they could save up for a family. They could buy their own health care.

        Those would be things conservatives should want and encourage.

        • A high school student’s value to an employer is not more than $6 or $7 per hour. They just don’t bring that much to the table. So, not many high school workers will get the chance to work when the wages get high. And despite all the confidence and assurance that a rise in the minimum wage will have no ill effects, by the time we realize it has resulted in lost jobs and opportunities, it will be too late. Of course, then Trump can get blamed for the job loss rather than the rise in the minimum wage.