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Tucson Minimum Wage Act: How will it impact local businesses?

Posted at 6:32 AM, Oct 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 09:32:05-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A $15 minimum wage could be in Tucson's future. That is if voters decide to vote in favor of Proposition 206 this November.

The initiative would set Tucson apart from much of the State of Arizona.

The money won’t hit Tucson workers immediately, it'll happen in four increments, starting with a spike to $13 in April and not reaching $15 until 2025.

  • $13 by April 1, 2022
  • $13.50 by January 1, 2023
  • $14.25 by January 1, 2024
  • $15.00 by January 1, 2025

“The fight for 15 is a fight we all have to make it in this world,” said Dwight Metzger, owner of The Gloo Factory.

Metzger supports the Tucson Minimum Wage Act.

He’s owned the union-run print shop for three decades and said while for any small business owner like himself— making payroll is a challenge he knows his employees are his biggest asset.

“I believe a workforce that is taken care of is going to be more productive, is going to be more loyal and at the end of the day we have to care about the people, what's the point if we don’t,” said Metzger.

Across town, Carlos Ruiz, the owner of HT metals said the prop would be bad for business. So, he’s voting no.

A no vote means that Tucson will stay the course with the rest of the State of Arizona—keeping a $12.15 minimum wage with a gradual increase to account for the cost of living.

“ I think it puts a barrier between my relationship with my employees and myself as the business owner, and it creates an anti-business climate in Tucson in general,” said Ruiz.

Ruiz said he already pays his employees over the minimum wage since it’s skilled-based labor.

Where his concern lies is a new Department of Labor Standards that would oversee worker complaints and employer violations that comes along with the proposition.

“Anyone coming to Tucson will look at this and say, 'Gee, do I really want to move into a city into a jurisdiction that has these kinds of things in place that I will have to deal with as a business coming into the City of Tucson,'” said Ruiz.

Voters will be able to make their final decision on the Tucson Minimum Wage act on November 2.