Tag Archives: minimum wage

Higher minimum wage did not reduce restaurant employment after all (updated)

The Arizona Restaurant Association (ARA) is the principal chamber of commerce organization that has sought to defeat and to undermine Arizona’s Minimum Wage Act first approved by voters in 2006, and reaffirmed by voters in 2016.

The ARA was behind HB 2579, our Tea-Pulican legislature’s attempt to gut the 2006 Minimum Wage Act by narrowly redefining “wages.” The ARA participated in a failed legal challenge to the sufficiency of the 2016 Minimum Wage Initiative, and after the Minimum Wage Initiative was passed by voters, the ARA participated in the failed legal challenge to overturn the will of the voters.

The ARA’s position is always that the minimum wage (most restaurant workers are paid a sub-minimum wage and must rely on the kindness of strangers for tips) is devastating to restaurant businesses. The ARA always claims that a higher minimum wage will reduce employment in the restaurant sector.

While some marginal businesses teetering on failure may have closed due to higher wage costs, those businesses have been replaced by others that are competitive at the higher wage costs. And isn’t that what “creative destruction” in a free market economy is all about?

Howard Fischer reports today that employment in the restaurant sector has gone up since passage of the increase in the minimum wage. Food sector job growth outpaces state since wage hike on Jan. 1:

Remember those claims during the Proposition 206 debate that increasing the minimum wage would lead to less hiring and people being laid off from low-wage jobs?

The latest unemployment statistics suggest that hasn’t happened.

In fact, the data from the state Office of Economic Opportunity shows that the number of people working in bars and restaurants last month not only increased but did so at a rate six times higher than the economy as a whole. Employers who run food service and drinking establishments added 7,800 new workers compared with February, a 3.3 percent boost.

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Chamber of Commerce organizations continue their assault on worker’s benefits in court

The Chamber of Commerce organizations lost their battle to overturn Prop. 206, the 2016 minimum wage and paid time off initiative in court, but they are not done using their lickspittle servants in Arizona’s Tea-Publican controlled state legislature to try to reverse citizens initiatives voters approved for paid time off and worker’s benefits.

Howard Fischer reports, State seeks to block cities from regulating private workers ‘benefits’:

Attorney General Mark Brnovich is asking a judge to rule that the word “benefits” in a voter-approved measure is not the same as “fringe benefits.”

And the goal of this judicial war of words is a bid by Brnovich to block local governments from telling private companies what benefits they have to offer their workers.

Assistant Attorney General Rusty Crandell, writing on behalf of Brnovich, is trying to preserve a 2016 measure [HB 2579] adopted by Republican legislators to block local governments from telling private companies everything from how much time off they will offer workers to vacation mandates and even how far ahead of time workers need to be told of schedule changes.

Note: Both the Minimum Wage Act, Prop. 202, approved by voters in 2006, and Prop. 206 approved by voters in 2016, provide for local governments being able to require “benefits” for employees. Prop. 206 was specifically designed to supersede HB 2579 by mandating paid time off benefits.

I explained this lawsuit last year. Arizona sued for unconstitutional attempt to preempt the Arizona Minimum Wage Act.

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AZ Supreme Court unanimously upholds Prop. 206

The Arizona Supreme Court unanimously ruled against a challenge brought by our corporate overlords in the Chamber of Commerce organizations to the voter-approved Prop. 206, the minimum wage initiative, raising the state’s minimum wage and providing for paid time off regulations. The Arizona Capitol Times  (subscription required) reports, Supreme Court upholds minimum wage law:

The justices rejected arguments by a group of plaintiffs, led by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, that Proposition 206 led to an unconstitutional mandate for the government to spend money. Attorneys for the chamber argued that expenses caused by Prop. 206, which raised the minimum wage to $10 per hour on January 1, violated the Arizona Constitution’s revenue-source rule.

Adopted in 2004, the rule requires ballot initiatives to identify funding sources for any new government spending.

Chief Justice Scott Bales announced the ruling in a brief order released Tuesday afternoon. A lengthier written opinion will be released at a later date.

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(Update) AZ Supreme Court oral argument on Prop. 206, Minimum Wage Initiative

It looks as if our corporate overlords at the Chamber of Commerce organizations seeking to overturn the will of the voters on Prop. 206, the Minimum Wage Initiative — and by extension to eliminate your constitutional right to pass laws by citizen initiatives — had a bad day in court on Thursday.

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, AZ Supreme Court skeptical of minimum wage challenger arguments:

Arizona’s Supreme Court justices spent time March 9 imagining a world in which the state’s voters may never get to pass laws by the ballot again.

Justices repeatedly posed that scenario to Brett Johnson, an attorney representing the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other plaintiffs in their challenge to a higher minimum wage approved overwhelmingly by voters in November.

Johnson argued that parts of Proposition 206, including new mandates for benefits such as paid sick leave, are a direct mandate for the state to spend money, which violates the Arizona Constitution’s revenue source rule. That rule is a measure adopted in 2004 that requires ballot initiatives to identify funding sources for new government spending.

Chief Justice Scott Bales opened the hearing with a question that cut to the case’s potentially dramatic implications: If even indirect expenditures are sufficient to violate the revenue source rule, is there realistically any initiative that could be proposed that wouldn’t violate the Constitution?

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AZ Supreme Court to consider Prop. 206 Minimum Wage appeal

The Arizona Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments by Chamber of Commerce organizations that the new voter-approved minimum wage, Prop. 206, violates the state’s Constitution. State Supreme Court agrees to take up minimum wage case:

The Arizona Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction of the case and announced Tuesday afternoon it will hold a hearing on March 9. At the heart of the issue, which the court will hear, is the claim that Proposition 206 violates the Constitution’s revenue source rule. The case was brought by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and other business groups and supported by Gov. Doug Ducey and Republican legislative leaders.

Justices had declined to block the minimum wage from taking effect on January 1, spurning an appeal from those same business groups after their initial complaint was struck down in Maricopa County Superior Court. Now attorneys will again argue that Proposition 206 violates a requirement in the Arizona Constitution that any new voter-mandated spending designate a funding source to cover its costs. The funding stream may not come from the general fund.

Attorneys for the chamber had offered up other legal arguments against the law in Superior Court, but the Supreme Court will only hear arguments concerning the revenue source rule. Opponents of the minimum wage hike contend the state is forced to increase spending for services through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, which contracts with service providers to ensure people have access to care.

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UPDATE: Arizona Supreme Court declines to stay Minimum Wage initiative, Prop. 206

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, Arizona Supreme Court declines to block Prop 206:

RaiseTheWageWithout comment the state Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a last-ditch bid by the business community, with support from Gov. Doug Ducey and legislative leaders, to delay the effect of Proposition 206. That measure, approved earlier this year by voters on a 58-42 margin, raises the current minimum wage of $8.05 an hour to $10 at the beginning of 2017.

The same initiative eventually increases that to $12 an hour by 2020. And beginning July 1 it requires employers to provide workers with at least three days of paid sick leave each year.

Thursday’s ruling does not end the matter.

The justices have agreed to consider claims by initiative foes that the measure violates a constitutional provision that requires all ballot proposals that result in new state spending to have a dedicated revenue source. But that won’t occur until February, meaning the $10 requirement will remain in place at least until then — if not beyond.

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