By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times
What would you do with an extra $2,080 a year?
Well, maybe closer to $1,600 after taxes?
That’s the happy question facing hundreds of thousands of Arizonans who are in line for a wage bump come Jan 1. That’s when the last phase in a 2016 voter-approved increase in the minimum wage kicks in.
It will take the bottom from $11 an hour to $12, adding an extra $2,080 for those working a full-time job.
Exactly how many Arizonans are affected is unclear.
The most recent wage data from the Arizona Commerce Authority is for 2018. But it does show the folks who, on average, were getting not much more than $11 at the time.
Among the largest group likely to see bigger paychecks are those who are in the personal care and service occupations.
The state figured there were more than 112,000 people at that time with a median wage of $11.61 an hour. That means half were making above that and half were making less.
Another nearly 48,000 personal care aides are in that wage category.
And there are other categories where the median wage last year was below $12 an hour, including more than 92,000 in retail sales, close to 49,000 waiters and waitresses, 12,500 counter attendants and 17,500 fast food cooks.