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Wed, July 17

Editorial: Leave minimum wage alone, lawmakers

Millions of minimum wage workers got a pay raise in 2019. In Arizona, a bill to pay less than the minimum wage to people younger than 22, working 20 hours or less, has been pulled. (AP graphic, file)

Millions of minimum wage workers got a pay raise in 2019. In Arizona, a bill to pay less than the minimum wage to people younger than 22, working 20 hours or less, has been pulled. (AP graphic, file)

A bill to pay less than the minimum wage to people younger than 22, working 20 hours or less, has been pulled.

It needs to remain that way. Dead.

Rep. Travis Grantham, R-Gilbert, was forced to withdraw his House Bill 2523 from consideration by the Senate Commerce Committee this past week.

That happened after a Republican, Sen. Tyler Pace of Mesa, balked at supporting the measure as already approved by the House.

Pace worries the legislation sends the wrong message about education. “The bill, the way it’s written, would say, ‘We’ll pay you more if you don’t go to school,’’’ Pace said. “To me, that appears an incentive to not go to school.’’

The bigger concern for us is the wrong message it would send to businesses.

“We don’t want businesses to use this as a way to unemploy people who are employed at a certain rate,’’ Pace added, replacing $11-per-hour workers with those who could legally be hired for $7.25.

Further, they are all forgetting that a population exists that is 22 and younger, works part-time jobs – and have families to support.

If this bill were to pass (and be signed by the governor), the state would be allowing businesses to take pay away from young people – to below the minimum of $8.05 per hour it was in 2016, before voters approved the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act.

They want to take the minimum back 10 years to $7.25 (the current federal minimum) which was Arizona’s minimum wage in 2009?

Sadly, those were not the lawmakers’ concerns Thursday. The bill was pulled because without Pace’s vote, the bill would have officially died on the committee’s 4-4 vote.

Politics. That is what Grantham cared about.

You should all be ashamed.

As for the goal of the bill – Grantham trying to reduce youth unemployment – we are in favor of that. But this is not the way to go about it. Better pay is what drives this bus, not less.

As we stated in a March 4 editorial, this is legislation that would hurt, not help.

Try again.

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