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The State’s Punishment Of Flagstaff’s Minimum Wage Was Argued In A Maricopa Count Courtroom Monday

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Lawyers for the City of Flagstaff and the State of Arizona were in court Monday to argue a provision in the new state budget that charges the city $1.1-million for the raise in the minimum wage. A bill passed into law in 2017 discourages cities from enacting minimum wage and benefits laws, that voter-approved Proposition 202 provided when it was approved in 2006. Prop 202 states counties, cities and towns can enact ordinances to regulate the minimum wage and benefits, as long as the ordinances don’t decrease the local minimum wage below the state’s minimum wage. An attorney representing the city wants a judge to void the provision in the state budget that enacts the law. The city claims the provision is unconstitutional and violates the Voter Protection Act. They say it also specifically exempts state employees. The bill, that became law, allows the state to charge cities and towns if the rise in the minimum wage goes over the state’s minimum to recoup any financial differences regarding state workers. The current minimum wage in Arizona is $12.15 an hour, while the minimum wage in Flagstaff is currently $15 an hour and will increase to $15.50 an hour in January. The law says if the city doesn’t pay the state by the end of the calendar year, the money will be deducted from the state’s revenue sharing with the city. The Maricopa County judge says he hopes to have a ruling by the end of the month.