By Brad Anderson
The Greater Vail Area Chamber of Commerce represents businesses and business interest throughout the entire southeast Pima County area. Many of these businesses will be affected if Proposition 206, Tucson’s Minimum Wage Initiative, passes The Chamber is bringing this debate straight to its members during its monthly breakfast on October 20th. Not only would the passage of this initiative raise hourly rates from the current state minimum of $12.15 per hour to $15 by January 1, 2025, but it also contains numerous other provisions as well.
The initiative would establish a Department of Labor Standards with an appointed Director having the authority to promulgate rules for implementation of the Act.
A violation would be a civil infraction with a penalty of up to $100 per employee affected. If multiple violations occur, the city may revoke, suspend, or decline to renew any licenses of the employer.
In addition to affected individuals, the Act allows for “Interested Parties” to file complaints or civil actions. An Interested Party means any nonprofit organization organized in part to protect the rights of workers and has at least one member within the city.
Every year the department would be required to use a portion of its resources to investigate employers in industries where minimum wage violations are most likely to occur.
Sets the definition of an employee as an individual who works five (5) hours/week or more within the city.
Large employers (employs 26 or more) shall pay at least the minimum wage to employees working 3 hours or more.
An employer shall not obligate an employee to receive minimum wage payments using a system which requires a valid social security number.
This is a major issue and will affect many businesses, organizations, school districts, etc. Though the intent of the initiative is to reduce poverty, the consequences include the potential for increased inflation, putting some entities out of business and putting employees out of work. Some businesses will be able to offset the increased operational costs by raising prices, others will not. Take for example, a school district – they are on fixed income as directed by the state. If their staffing costs go up, their only resolution is to reduce staff.
Another concern is for those citizens living on fixed incomes. As payrolls go up, most companies will have to raise rates and costs of goods and services will go up. This will pinch household budgets which are already very tight. The real-life results of unintended consequences.
Brad Anderson grew up on a family farm in northern Colorado and from Colorado State University. He joined the Greater Vail area Chamber of Commerce when he moved to southern Arizona as an Edward Jones Financial Advisor in Vail.