Greater Phoenix chamber opposes initiative for $12 an hour minimum wage

The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce opposes the passage of Arizona’s Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act initiative, which would increase Arizona’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020 and mandate that all employers provide workers with paid sick leave.

The chamber said it feels that the initiative would negatively affect Arizona’s competitiveness with other states with a minimum wage that far exceeds federal standards. It would also affect the ability of small businesses to grow or hire more employees.

“While we wholeheartedly support hard-working, healthy families and fair wages, this particular proposal is not an effective economic policy,”Chamber Vice President of Public Affairs Mike Huckins said. “In fact, this measure has the potential to eliminate more jobs than it would create. In addition, it does nothing to address local governments adopting a higher minimum wage above what this measure calls for, furthering the dangerous potential for a patchwork of wage and benefit policies across the state.”

Arizona is one of 29 states that have a minimum wage above the $7.25 federal standard.

A group called Arizonans for Fair Wages and Healthy Families filed paperwork in April to place the initiative on the the November ballot. The group must collect 150,642 signatures from registered voters by July 7 to qualify the proposal for the November ballot.

“This initiative also mandates that employees of large companies receive 40 hours a year in paid sick leave and businesses with less than 15 employees provide 24 hours of annual paid sick leave,” Huckins said. “This would be yet another mandate that businesses are forced to find money to fund. Many businesses already voluntarily offer paid sick leave without a law requiring them to do so. It’s interesting to note that the initiative exempts collective bargaining agreements from the enforcement of this provision.”

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