By DAVID W. SKINNER
The minimum wage rate in Arizona has risen from $8.50 to $10 since Jan. 1 and will continue to rise 50 cents each year until the minimum wage reaches $12 by the year 2020.
This isn’t going to work. Raising the minimum wage will put people out of work.
Before voters approved the Proposition 206 wage increase, businesses kept many people on staff at $8.50 an hour. Employees worked shifts throughout the week, whether they were a student, a working mother or a father with a second job trying to pay the bills.
With the pay raise, companies that already could barely afford their overhead are looking at layoffs or reduced hours.
I wish state voters had been more diligent before approving this plan.
We all know businesses are going to do what’s best for their bottom line. As an employee, I hear all the time how my company cares about its employees and all that nonsense.
But now is when we get to see a business’ true intentions.
Surprisingly enough, it’s to make money.
If making money takes firing people in order for those corporate suits to cash their quarterly bonus, they won’t even think twice.
To the everyday working man or woman who depends on part-time jobs to pay the
bills, having to replace those lost hours with another part-time job is going to be much harder due to a company’s requirement to hire an entry-level employee at $10 compared to $8.50.
The company will hire fewer people for those part-time jobs and some workers will be left out in the cold.
As a state, Arizona needs more companies to want to move here. Occupants of this beautiful state must be able to work and live in comfort.
The minimum wage increase adds another roadblock for companies planning to move their business operation to the Tucson area.
Bringing new jobs to the Tucson community shows other companies that Arizona is a great home base. I just don’t think raising the minimum wage was a step in that direction.
Making sudden, drastic changes without any real adjustment period or plan has left employers all over Arizona having to make hard decisions.
Arizona should want its working people to make money, not lose their jobs entirely.
David Skinner is a journalist major whose opinions are just as bad as his writing style. He loves long walks on the beach but hates getting sand in his shoes. Do not follow him on twitter @daveyskins_.
By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
For minimum-wage earners who’ve had a taste of the $1.95 per hour pay raise, I can relate if you are feeling both happy and scared by the change.
My eyes light up when I see the significant increase in my paychecks. However, my face turns gray when I hear that another store has closed or raised prices because it can’t keep up.
In Tucson, the owner of Shlomo and Vito’s Deli blamed the minimum wage when it closed. The move threw 43 employees out of work.
I’m not an economist, but I would argue the closing represents free market principles. It’s not great a local deli closed, but it allows other entrepreneurs an opportunity to open another food store that might be economically stronger.
The ability to adapt and overcome obstacles shows the strength of a business. This life-and-death business cycle is healthy for an area’s economy.
The Metro Chamber of Commerce recently sent an anonymous survey to businesses across Tucson.
About 40 percent of businesses that responded said they are increasing prices to keep up.
Thirty-two percent are reducing employee hours.
I see this happening at my own job, at Frys. Many of my fellow employees are seeing their hours cut because they don’t have seniority and the store has to save money.
The chamber survey said 13 percent of businesses are considering closing for good. This is without a doubt bad for the individual businesses that close. However, a growing customer base will greet those that ride the wave of uncertainty and stay open.
Another 11 percent of the business owners said they would move to automation.
We won’t be having much human interaction at those stores. They’ll be based on machines with one or two people keeping up day-to-day maintenance.
Again, this process eliminates the weak businesses and allows others to come up with fresh ideas to keep their business going. This is good for everyone in the long run.
I understand that finding a new job is scary in the short run, especially when you have a family to feed. It’s also scary to see businesses close.
Focusing on that, however, will only make you close-minded to that fact that other businesses may perform better.
Opportunities are driven by the free market and its ability to make and break businesses.
This is the circle of life in the world of economics. We shouldn’t be afraid to take it on.
Nick Trujillo isn’t a conservative, but he likes a free-functioning market.