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Small business reacts to Arizona's pending minimum wage increase

Posted: 6:50 PM, Dec 19, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-20 13:17:45-05
Minimum wage increasing for 2019

If you make minimum wage in Arizona, you may be seeing a raise at the start of the new year. The state's minimum wage is increasing by 50 cents, to $11 an hour .

A small business like Rocco's Pizza on Broadway, is ready for the change. The pizzeria has been a Tucson staple for two decades. The resturant is celebrating its 20th anniversary next week. Owner, Rocco DiGrazia, says he hasn't paid minimum wage in almost 10 to 15 years; but that doesn't mean he and his employees aren't affected by the wage change.

"Whenever the minimum wage goes up, everybody expects the increase in their check as well. Just that, because they put the time in, and now their starting point is lower," said DiGrazia.

An expectation he plans to meet by raising his employee's wages by 50-cents right at the first of the new year.

"And then I'll see if I can live with the prices that I have now. I may have to increase my prices a bit after the first quarter. I'm going to wait and see. Its next year when it goes up to $12 that it seems like it might be the hard part," said DiGrazia.

He says trying to find a middle ground to work with can be tricky. As an owner, you are trying to keep your employees happy with good wages, your customers happy with good prices, and yourself happy with making a good profit.

"I don't want to hurt my consumers and I do want to help my employees, but you have to find a break even point that you're comfortable with. I think it hurts people who are not as established as myself, maybe a smaller staff and smaller following and stuff, a lot more than it hurts me. But its still difficult and, you know, the money is coming from somewhere," said DiGrazia.

Prop 206 changed minimum wage rules, voters approved that measure back in 2016. The goal is to incrementally raise minimum wage to twelve dollars by 2020. After that, the wage will be tied to cost of living.