Voting Matters: Arizona’s minimum wage now nearly double federal rate

minimum wage

A "Now Hiring" sign is displayed on a shopfront on August 5, 2022 in New York City. U.S. employers added 528,000 jobs despite warning of a recession. Unemployment fell to 3.5%, the lowest level since the pandemic. (Photo by John Smith/VIEWpress)

By Camaron Stevenson

January 2, 2024

Minimum wage employees in Arizona should receive a welcome bump in their paycheck this month, as the state’s minimum wage has gone up for the eighth straight year.

Arizona’s minimum wage is now $14.35, a $0.50 raise from 2023. For a full-time, minimum-wage worker, the annual increase will go from $28,808 to $29,848. Arizona now has the 10th-highest minimum wage in the country, and is ranked 24th in cost of living, according to a recent report by Forbes.

The raise is due to the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act, a voter-approved law that required the state’s minimum wage be raised every year to match cost-of-living increases. It also required employers to provide paid sick time for employees, and raised the minimum wage for tipped employees to be $3 less than the untipped minimum, provided employers can prove tips make up the difference.

The push to raise the state’s minimum wage and pass the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act was led by Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), a progressive grassroots organization that has spent the years since advocating for what they call a People First Economy. Other economic victories include LUCHA’s efforts in securing over $250 million in the state budget last year and $40 million in education grants for in-state college applicants.

Arizona voters overwhelmingly chose to raise the state’s minimum wage in 2016—and took a step further in Flagstaff, where city residents passed The Minimum Wage Act, which set a gradual minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2021. The city’s minimum wage is also set to increase annually based on the Consumer Price Index, “or $2.00 above the State of Arizona minimum wage, whichever is higher.”

Flagstaff also raised its tipped minimum wage to $15.90 an hour.

The federal minimum wage, in contrast, has remained at $7.25 per hour—$2.13 for tipped employees—since 2009. The US Congress voted to raise the minimum in 2021, but failed to pass when eight Democrats—including Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema—sided with Republicans to vote against it.

Author

  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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