Arizona's Minimum Wage Could Rise to $18, Including Tipped Workers, Under New Ballot Measure

By Madz Dizon

Jul 08, 2024 07:30 PM EDT

Arizona's Minimum Wage Could Rise to $18, Including Tipped Workers, Under New Ballot Measure
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(Photo : Karolina Kaboompics/ Pexels)

Signatures were turned in last week by the group supporting a ballot measure that seeks to raise the minimum wage in Arizona. Their goal is to get the measure on the ballot for November.

Arizona Secures Signatures for $18 Minimum Wage Ballot Measure 

The political committee known as Raise the Wage Signatures have been collected in Arizona for a ballot measure known as the "One Fair Wage Act" since November 2022. The proposed measure to increase the state minimum wage from $14.35 to $18 per hour, according to ABC15.

Additionally, there would be a gradual reduction in the portion of a worker's tips that restaurants could allocate towards meeting the state minimum wage. Eventually, employers would be required to pay all workers the state minimum wage, regardless of their tip earnings.

The measure requires a total of 255,949 valid signatures to be eligible for the ballot. The Secretary of State's Office and county recorders will now begin the process of verifying the submitted signatures. The Secretary of State's Office has confirmed that the campaign has submitted a total of 354,278 signatures.

There will be a competing ballot measure presented to voters, which was introduced by the Arizona Legislature and has the support of the Arizona Restaurant Association. That measure proposes a lower wage for tipped workers in the restaurant industry.

Raise the Wage has been gathering signatures for approximately two years for its cause. According to state campaign finance reports, it has received almost $2.5 million in contributions from One Fair Wage. The identity of the original donors remains undisclosed to the public. However, the disclosure of major donors may be required under the Voters Right to Know Act.

A new law, which received strong support from voters in 2022, mandates that any committee spending over $50,000 on a statewide or legislative ad campaign must reveal the individuals contributing $5,000 or more.

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Uncertainty Over Campaign Finance Disclosure 

There is still uncertainty surrounding whether Raise the Wage was required to include an additional form in its latest campaign finance report from April to adhere to the dark money disclosure law, AZ Central reported.

The majority of the funds were allocated towards compensating individuals responsible for collecting signatures, a practice that does not necessitate public disclosure, unlike campaign advertising expenses.

According to Jim Barton, a lawyer for Raise the Wage, the political action committee is not required to file a disclosure report until 20 days before the July 30 primary election.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 1040, also referred to as the "Tipped Workers Protection Act," has managed to secure passage on the final day of this year's legislative session. Despite facing previous rejection in the Senate, the resolution received a vote of 16-12, with support solely from Republicans.

The measure garnered bipartisan support when it passed through the House of Representatives in April by a vote of 35-24, with Republicans and a few Democrats backing it. 

READ MORE: Florida Enacts Stricter SNAP Benefits Rules; DeSantis Signs Bill to Reform Public Assistance

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