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Minimum Wage Goes Up Again Jan. 1

Statistics show that the Arizona economy improved markedly after the minimum wage hike last January. (Cohdra/Morguefile)
Statistics show that the Arizona economy improved markedly after the minimum wage hike last January. (Cohdra/Morguefile)
December 27, 2017

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Millions of Arizonans are getting a bump in pay starting Monday – when the minimum wage goes up from $10 to $10.50 an hour.

Voters passed Proposition 206 in 2016, so the minimum wage jumped from $8.05 to $10 last January.

Tomas Robles, co-executive director of the group Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), helped lead the fight for a living wage. He says it has gone a long way toward helping low income families make ends meet.

"It's meant relief,” he says. “It's meant an improving economy, more money to save, higher wages, lower unemployment for our families and for our state. It's been much more successful than we could have ever hoped."

The increase helped more than just the minimum-wage earners. Robles says the average wage in Arizona jumped from $23.99 in 2016 to $25.23 in 2017, and the average wage in leisure and hospitality jobs jumped from $14.21 to $14.95. The jobless rate went down from five to 4.3 percent.

Opponents such as Gov. Doug Ducey and the Chamber of Commerce warned that it would cost jobs, but Robles says the facts show otherwise.

"These tired and false predictions from the opposition, they need to be put away now,” he says, “It's proven every time that if you put more money in the hands of residents here in Arizona, they'll spend it. And that is what drives the economy."

In 2019 the minimum wage will jump to $11 an hour, then to $12 in 2020. And after 2021 it will be pegged to rise with inflation.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ