Future of minimum wage in Arizona unclear

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via PinalCentral

What would you buy with an extra $6 a week?Two gallons of milk? A Big Mac Meal?An overpriced venti half-caf, sugar-free latte?

That’s how much more those at the bottom of the pay scale will be making come Jan. 1 when the minimum wage in Arizona rises 15 cents an hour to $12.15.

Before taxes.

Arizona voters mandated in 2006 that the state have its own minimum wage not tied to the federal figure. That set the bottom of the pay scale here at $6.75 an hour, $1.60 higher than what federal law mandated at the time.

Plus there were inflation adjustments.

A decade later, voters decided to turbocharge the raises, imposing a $10 minimum with automatic increases up to $12 as of 2020.

Meanwhile, the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 an hour.

With the last of the pre-approved boosts now done, that puts Arizona back into the inflation-adjusted annual increases.

The state Industrial Commission figures that the Consumer Price Index, measured in August as required by law, is 1.3 percent higher than a year earlier. Add that to the current $12 figure, round to the nearest nickel and you come up with $12.15.

How many Arizonans that might affect remains unclear.

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