The Arizona State Press: Minimum Wage in Arizona to Rise by 2024

Come January 1, 2024, the minimum wage in Arizona is slated to go up from $13.85 to $14.35.

According to the Industrial Commission of Arizona, the 50-cent hike in minimum wage is due to The Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act. This act mandates the establishment of a new state minimum wage each year until 2020, followed by annual increments based on the rise in the cost of living.

Trevor Laky, the head of legislative affairs at the ICA, explained that they determine the appropriate increase for the minimum wage by examining the consumer price index from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and noting the year-to-year changes. He stated that they follow a structured process, and all they need to do is document their findings.

According to economist Naomi Saria from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hike in minimum wage is a response to the escalating cost of living in densely populated cities of the state.

Saria stated that in the Phoenix area, the CPUI, which is a consumer price index measuring the expenses of urban consumers, has increased by 2.9% in the last year. This rise in prices may be a factor that drives the need for a minimum wage increase. Additionally, over the past four months, prices have gone up by 3.4%.

According to Saria, numerous significant metropolitan regions in the United States are experiencing similar transformations, even though the federal minimum wage of $7.25 has remained stagnant since 2009.

Saria pointed out that the minimum wage in San Francisco has recently been raised by $1.08 to $18.07. According to her, this increase is a direct response to the inflation rate and the need to support the cost of living in the area. She also noticed a similar trend in Arizona, where the cost of living is high, especially in densely populated metro areas.

At the ASU Tempe campus, Marian Rosenberry is currently working a food service job as a junior studying public service and public policy with a focus in business. Despite the job paying minimum wage, employees are not allowed to take home any tips.

Rosenberry’s coworkers have brought to her attention that her wage, after taxes, falls below the minimum wage. Adding to the issue, her job on campus does not permit her to accept tips. “I had no idea that I wasn’t receiving any additional income,” Rosenberry stated. “It’s frustrating because this type of job is typically a tipped position, yet we are not allowed to accept tips.”

Raise the Wage AZ has proposed the Arizona Minimum Wage Increase Initiative to be included on the ballot on Nov. 5, 2024. If passed, the initiative would raise the minimum wage to $18 per hour. The proposal must be submitted by July 3, 2024.

Under the initiative, tipped workers would receive a minimum wage base pay, and small businesses that are currently exempt from paying the federal minimum wage would need to pay employees the state’s minimum wage. Although this would result in a wage increase, Rosenberry expressed some reservations about fully celebrating this development.

Rosenberry questioned whether inflation is genuinely on the rise or if it is just following the same upward trend as other expenses. “Is it actually increasing, or is it just moving up the same way that everything else is moving up in costs?” he asked.

The editing duties for this piece were handled by Alysa Horton, Sadie Buggle, and Caera Learmonth.

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