Second Thoughts on Flagstaff Wage Hike?

Date: January 31, 2017

Flagstaff continues to wrestle with the aftermath of its decision to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021.

The Arizona Daily Sun reported on two Flagstaff businesses that closed in the wake of the minimum wage vote.

“We were … making ends meet, but could not support such a drastic increase in the minimum wages mandated by the local Prop. 414,” Minesh Patel, a partner in Country Host West restaurant, told the paper.

The business is now closed, as is Cultured Yogurt, whose owner told the newspaper that a buyer for the shop dropped out after the minimum wage hike passed.

Arizona raised its minimum wage in January to $10 an hour, while Flagstaff voters passed an ordinance requiring its minimum wage be at least $2 an hour higher than the state’s. The $12 an hour wage is set to go into effect in Flagstaff on July 1. Flagstaff’s wage then would rise to $15 an hour by 2021. For tipped workers, it will be $15 an hour by 2026.

Efforts to change Flagstaff’s minimum wage hike continue. A group called Elevate Flagstaff is seeking to put a new question on the ballot that would gradually raise the city’s minimum wage to only 50 cents higher than the state’s, rather than $2. That question could go before voters in May or November. Another group, called Bridging Flagstaff, wants the Flagstaff City Council to delay the scheduled July 1 wage increase and push back the $2-above-the-state-wage requirement until 2020.

And Rep. Bob Thorpe has proposed House Bill 2124, which would allow only the state to set minimum wage and would repeal Flagstaff’s higher rate.

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