Flagstaff Council To Join Minimum Wage Lawsuit?
By Councilman Jeff Oravits
On May 5th, the Flagstaff City Council will hear a request to join in a lawsuit against the state of Arizona to allow Flagstaff, and any Arizona town or city, to set its own minimum wage. The suit was brought forward by the Flagstaff Living Wage Coalition, a group headed by Eva Putzova, a member of the Flagstaff City Council.
If Flagstaff is allowed to raise its minimum wage, what do proponents propose as Flagstaff’s new minimum wage? Some groups, like Fight For 15, are pushing to “increase base salaries to $15 per hour.” Arizona’s current minimum wage is $8.05 per hour. What effect would nearly doubling the minimum wage have on our economy?
This isn’t just a Flagstaff issue. As the attorney for this cause stated recently, this push is statewide.
“There are voters and advocates who want to see this in Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson and all around the state,” said attorney Shawn Aiken, who, along with attorney Mik Jordahl of Flagstaff, is representing the Flagstaff Living Wage Coalition. “We want to get it on ballots as soon as we can get this lawsuit resolved.” (AZ Central, April 14, 2015)
Ms. Putzova ran her campaign for council on a platform of “shared prosperity” and “living wages”. If the City joins the lawsuit, who will determine what is a “livable wage” and how high will that minimum be? What will be the impact on businesses and ultimately on the cost of goods and services as new higher wages inflate through the economy? Will the long term impact of higher wages backfire and just create higher costs for everyone, especially the very people proponents claim they are seeking to help? Will new businesses avoid places like Flagstaff in favor of lower wage areas causing further employment pressures?
I want to hear from the community and residents of Arizona on this issue. What are your thoughts?
You can also email the entire Flagstaff City Council at firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilman Jeff Oravits
The meeting discussing the lawsuit is open to all.
May 5th, 6:00PM.
Flagstaff City Hall
211 West Aspen Ave.
It will also be streamed live