Unlike in Seattle, Our City Council Can’t Raise the Minimum Wage


Last year, the Arizona State Legislature passed HB 2280 and Governor Brewer signed it into law. It effectively banned any opportunity for local governments anywhere in Arizona to go beyond State and Federal Minimum Wages and establish living wages as the new standard. The lobby behind HB 2280 was the Arizona Restaurant Association. As a result, Tucson City Council cannot legally follow Seattle or most American cities to locally legislate Living Wages for citizens in our community, as the following make clear:

Arizona Senate gives early approval to ‘living wage’ ban

Brewer signs law banning cities from setting living wage

This is disturbing because there seems to be little local public awareness about HB 2280, whether by design or not. Yet Arizona has one of the highest poverty rates in the Nation. While prices continue to hike, wages are not. It is impossible for wage earners to meet basic needs at minimum wage levels. The Poverty in America website has developed a Living Wage Calculator and a Community Economic Toolbox to help assess local factors in determining Living Wage in Pima County. One suspects the data needs updating and tweaking, but it is helpful:

Living Wage Calculator and a Community Economic Toolbox

Seems like we have a problem in Tucson, yes?

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