OCTOBER 31, 2012
Increase in Arizona’s minimum wage hurts the least skilled and young people seeking first-time employment
PHOENIX – The Arizona Industrial Commission recently announced that our state’s minimum wage would see another annual increase, this time up to $7.80 effective the first of the year. The Arizona Small Business Association believes that the increase in our minimum wage hurts those who are supposed to most benefit from it: the least skilled and first-time employment seekers under the age of 19.
“Entry level work is essential to developing our future workforce here in Arizona and nationally,” said Rick Murray, CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association. “This is where basic soft skills are learned, work ethic is developed and where hard work is financially rewarded for the first time.” A recent study by the University of California Irvine demonstrates a tradeoff between an increase in minimum wage for the employed and higher rates of unemployment. Instead of paying higher wages, employers are forced to get by with fewer workers decreasing employment opportunities for young people.
The Arizona Small Business Association believes that the minimum wage in Arizona should be market driven and not determined by government. In 2006 when Arizona voters passed Proposition 206, the Arizona Minimum Wage Act, our economy was strong, and there was a high demand for workers at all skill levels. Arizona’s cost of living continues to be lower than the national average, yet the state’s minimum wage is higher. There is also an expectation by employees earning slightly higher wages to receive an increase when the minimum wage increases. This effects employers who chose to pay higher wages and places an unnecessary burden on them. Much has changed since 2006, and perhaps Arizona voters should reconsider the minimum wage issue and the impact of its unintended consequences.
About ASBA – The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) is the largest trade association in the state representing 11,000+ member businesses, and over ½ million employees in all 15 counties. ASBA members enjoy access to significant group discounts, countless opportunities to do business with each other, a wide array of insurance products, and active advocacy efforts on public policy issues to protect their businesses. Discover more at www.asba.com or by calling 602.306.4000 or 520.327.0222. Join ASBA. Be amAZed®