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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
11:57 AM Sun, Sept. 23rd

Minimum wage increases in Arizona

Low-paid workers in the tri-city area will see their paychecks climb slightly with the new year.

The federal minimum wage increased from $7.25 to $7.36 per hour, and will give a slight boost to area residents who work for food-food restaurants, retailers and other service-industry jobs.

The National Employment Law Project, a New York-based advocacy group for workers, estimates that about 647,000 people in Arizona, Colorado, Montano, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington will see their wages go up.

Arizona and the six other states tie increases in the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index. The minimum wage went up 9 to 12 cents in the other states.

An informal survey of Prescott Valley businesses shows Burger King and Papa John's pay the minimum wage while other fast-food restaurants and retailers pay $7.40 or more an hour.

Some jobs pay as much as $3 below the minimum wage because the workers receive tips, according to Joe Kronewitter, economic workforce development fiscal officer for the Yavapai Workforce Connection-Northern Arizona Council of Governments in Prescott.

NACOG provides job training and other services for the labor force in the tri-city area. It pays $8 an hour to clients who obtain training through job placements.

Kronewitter said NACOG in 2009 placed 75 to 80 teens and young adults in the work experience program.

He said he doubts the 11-cent hike in the minimum wage will have a "big impact," adding, "There is not going to be anybody laid off or (hit with) reduced hours."

The per-capita income is $24,975 in a 10-mile radius of the Prescott Valley area, according to Gary Marks, executive director of the Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation. The foundation seeks to attract private-sector employers who pay higher than the minimum wage.

The highest minimum wage at $8.67 an hour is in the state of Washington.