Lobbyists against a ‘living wage’ and local government control

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The Arizona Restaurant Association, the main protagonist behind HB 2147, which would require people applying for unemployment benefits to provide documentation that they are eligible, and if they don't provide that information, their benefits could be denied, Contact Governor Brewer, tell her to veto HB 2147, is also the main protagonist behind HB 2280, a bill that would make it illegal for Arizona cities to mandate a "living wage" for companies that operate within city limits.

That's right, because everyone should be working for $2.13 per hour plus tips with no employee benefits.

Once again, it is yet another example of our "big brother" Tea-Publican overlords in the Arizona legislature overriding local government control. So much for Tea-Publican "small government" rhetoric.

Howard Fischer reports, Arizona Senate gives early approval to 'living wage' ban:

Arizona_legislature_11274934985[T]he restaurant industry has persuaded state lawmakers to prevent cities and counties from dictating how much employers have to pay their workers.

On a voice vote, the Senate gave preliminary approval Wednesday to legislation that would make it illegal for Arizona cities to mandate any employee benefits for companies that operate within city limits. That includes not only compensation but also paid leave, allowable absences, meal breaks and rest periods.

The House already has approved HB 2280. That means it requires only a final Senate roll-call vote before going to Gov. Jan Brewer.

Sherry Gillespie, lobbyist for the Arizona Restaurant Association, said there is no real problem here – yet. "We're fortunate to get out in front of it," she said.

In other words, this is yet another solution in search of a "problem" (fair wages)that does not exist in Arizona. It is a prophylactic knee-jerk reaction to remove the power of local governments to require a "living wage" or working conditions.

Arizona's voter-mandated minimum wage [Prop. 202 (2006)]is $7.80 an hour; the federal minimum wage is $6.25. In Arizona, companies such as restaurants are allowed to pay workers $3 less per hour if those employees make up the difference in tips.

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In Tucson, for example, a city ordinance spells out how much firms that do business with the city must pay, a figure that is adjusted annually. For those contract jobs, the current city minimum is $11.07 for jobs that don't include insurance or $9.84 for jobs with a company insurance plan.

A similar Pima County ordinance says companies with county contracts must pay $11.32 an hour this year for workers not receiving benefits and $10.07 for those who get the equivalent of at least $1.25 in benefits.

Rep. Tom Forese, R-Chandler, said while the wording of his measure is broad, it is not his intent to disturb those kinds of laws. Instead, he wants to keep communities from mandating "living wages" and other benefits for all local businesses.

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Only Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, spoke out against the bill when it came up for debate on Wednesday.

"Here we go once again," he said. "We are intervening (in) what is a local control issue." He said these questions should be left to locally elected city councils.

Where were the lobbyists for the City of Tucson and Pima County, and the Arizona League of Cities and Towns to testify against this bill? Why did they not defend their local control against this overreach by our "big brother" Tea-Publican overlords in the Arizona legislature, bought and paid for by lobbyists like the Arizona Restaurant Association? Where were the labor unions to defend fair wages for restaurant workers and other employees who work for sub-minimum wages plus tips? Don't roll over on this unnecessary bill.

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