Arizona Republicans Attempting to Slash Youth Minimum Wage

This weekend Craig countered a Wall Street Journal article that falsely claimed the minimum wage increase is the main factor leading to increased youth unemployment. Unfortunately, Republicans in Arizona are running with this false argument in an attempt to drastically reduce the minimum wage for young adults.

This attempt is AZ House Bill 2639:

Legislation approved by the House Commerce Committee would set the minimum wage for anyone younger than 22 at 75 percent of what those 22 and older are required to be paid. With the state minimum wage at $7.25 an hour, that translates to $5.44.

Rep. Laurin Hendrix, the author of the bill, makes the following argument about how this is good for young people:

But that’s not all. Hendrix said once they have jobs — even jobs that don’t pay the full minimum wage — it will “get them in the habit of going to work and developing a work ethic that will be useful to them later in their lives.”

Translation: we are going to get these kids in the lifelong habit of working their asses off for scraps.

This measure is the handiwork of Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, and Barry Aarons, one of Norquist’s lobbyists, was the only one to testify in favor of the bill.

In 2006 Arizona voters approved the creation of a state minimum wage tied to inflation despite the attempts of Norquist’s organization.

Even if the state legislature fails to pass this discriminatory policy, it won’t yet be dead:

Hendrix does have a backup plan. He convinced committee members to also approve HCR2043, which would send the question to voters in November.

The Young Democrats of Arizona sent out an action alert to their membership encouraging members to take action against the GOP effort:

Subject: Make Less Money?

That’s exactly what will happen if the Republican legislature has its way. House Bill 2639; introduced by a Republican Representative from Gilbert may be up for a vote next week. This Bill if passed and signed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer will cut the minimum wage for workers under the age of 22 by 25%.

Yes, this is a serious proposal. Republicans in the state legislature don’t think its hard enough for young Arizonans to pay their bills already.

Take action!

There is still time. You can make a difference, and hopefully stop this law from passing. Here is what you can do:

1. Write a letter to the editor of a local paper. We need to get the message out. Too many times bad legislation gets through because people don’t realize what is happening.

2. Call your legislators and make sure they know you oppose this bill.

3. Sign up to join a small group to meet with legislators. Legislators take meetings with lobbyists all the time; now they need to hear from everyday Arizonans!

Together we can make a difference. Take action today!

This measure, if passed, would be devastating to young Arizonans attempting to work their way through college as they face huge tuition and fee increases and even worse for those students entering the workforce immediately after high school.