TUCSON (KVOA) - On Friday the Tucson Metro Chamber announced in a news release it is encouraging City of Tucson voters to reject the Tucson Minimum Wage Act to avoid displacing workers and driving up the cost of goods and services within the city limits.
The Chamber said small businesses would be hardest hit by the proposal, which would increase the minimum hourly wage to $15 but only within city limits. Rather than making the city more affordable, the proposition would transform it into an unsustainable island for small businesses, driving costs up rather than offering a hand up, it said.
“Small businesses are collectively major employers with tight profit margins. Coming off a devastating pandemic that forced many non-essential businesses to close their doors or scale back their operations, this Act would create another hurdle that many employers and service providers couldn’t overcome,” said Amber Smith, President & CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber. “This Act won’t pull anyone out of poverty, but it could put plenty of employers out of business.”
According to the Chamber, the act would put Tucson businesses at a disadvantage, forcing them to pay higher wages than competitors elsewhere in our community—including some that could be located right across the street.
“The Tucson Metro Chamber supports building an affordable community with competitive wages. The issue of poverty cannot be solved while looking at only one side of the equation,” Smith said. Affordability reflects the cost of goods and services as well as housing, childcare, transportation, in addition to higher wages. The Chamber’s Workforce Development Blueprint provides a better path to higher wages by supporting efforts to build skill sets in high demand through training, work-based learning programs, and innovative education/industry partnerships. These efforts will more effectively increase our citizens’ ability to obtain higher wages in the market while also growing and increasing local employment opportunities.