Originally Published: September 17, 2016 5:59 a.m.
Arizona’s minimum wage workers are going to get at least a dime-an-hour raise in January, no matter what voters decide at the ballot.
New figures Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers increased 1.1 percent between August of 2015 and last month. That was driven largely by higher health care costs.
But what’s important about that is a 2006 voter-approved initiative requires the Industrial Commission of Arizona to adjust the state’s minimum wage each year based on the August figures.
The current minimum is $8.05 an hour. That 1.1 percent translates out to nearly 8.9 cents.
That law, however, also requires the commission to round the figure to the nearest nickel. And that means a dime.
It could go up a lot more.
Voters in November will get a chance to decide whether to impose an immediate increase to $10 an hour, with future boosts until it hits $12 an hour by 2020. And at that point, the same CPI index will kick in again for future increases.
BLS statistics show that about 770,000 Arizonans — about a quarter of the workforce — currently early less than $10 an hour and would get an immediate boost.