Make No Mistake About the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Position on Proposition 206

Make No Mistake About the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Position on Proposition 206

I am writing to reinforce the Tucson Metro Chamber’s longstanding opposition to increases in the state minimum wage such as Proposition 206 passed on the November 8 ballot.  Prop 206 takes the state’s minimum wage from its current $8.05 an hour to $10.00 an hour in 2017 and $12.00 an hour in 2020.  The same measure also mandates paid sick leave for all employees.

Multiple studies have concluded these kinds of wage increases do not result in the intended outcome of creating “living wages” but do result in layoffs, business closings and jobs lost to other collateral impacts.  A small fraction of family breadwinners work in minimum wage positions.  Most minimum wage earners are students, part-time employees and those who are new to the workforce and are earning their way to a higher paying position.

It is only logical that higher labor costs in Arizona will only serve to drive companies to other states.

Earlier this year, the Tucson Metro Chamber was the undisputed leader of the effort to kill a City of Tucson Councilmember’s attempt to mandate paid sick leave, which is normally a precursor to a companion effort to increase the minimum wage.  A statewide voter initiative in November was passed by voters, but not without strong lobbying and outspoken editorials opposing the measure by the Tucson Metro Chamber.

During an emergency conference call with its board members late last week, the Arizona State Chamber of Commerce and Industry decided to file a lawsuit challenging the legality of Prop 206.  A private sector plaintiff, a beverage association and three chambers of commerce from Arizona also joined the suit.  The three chamber signers have seats on the State Chamber board and were able to sign on when the decision was made.  A communication was then sent to the Arizona Chamber Executives, an association of about 45 state chambers of commerce in Arizona notifying them of the State Chamber’s decision.  The communication offered other chambers in the state the chance to sign on, but none were able to do so because of the late-week notice and lack of turnaround time before the suit was filed.  The Tucson Metro Chamber (and we assume other chambers of commerce in the state) have since signified their support for the lawsuit.  Since there was not time to do so before the suit was filed, our name does not appear on the suit as a plaintiff.

The bottom line is that as an investor in the Tucson Metro Chamber you should know that we were the tip of the spear to defeat a paid sick leave measure when it was proposed locally, that the Chamber’s board solidly opposed Prop 206 in the November election and that the Tucson Metro Chamber continues to oppose these kinds of job-killing anti-business measures.