PHOENIX - Do some Arizona workers deserve a raise?
That's the question voters will head to the polls to answer when they decide the fate of Proposition 206.
"We have been paying more for groceries, gas and more for taxes," said Desiree Favella. "The increase in pay has not moved at the same rate."
Favella is a single-mother of three who recently had serious medical issues and, at times, had to choose between putting food on the table and her health.
She says eight bucks an hour doesn’t cut it for rising costs to live in Arizona.
Arizona's current minimum wage is $8.05, which is 80 cents more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Under the Prop 206, the state's wage would gradually increase to $12 per hour by 2020.
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"Companies need to stop taking in some more and be willing to give a little more to their employees because without their employees they really don’t have a business," Favella said.
Opponents caution that although more money does sound appealing, the immediate and long-term effects could be disastrous for small business and the economy.
"When you raise your wages based off of a number as opposed to a demand, your cost of insurance goes up, your worker’s (compensation) goes up, your cost of operating your business goes up and you drive small business away," said Kevin Rogers, president of the Arizona Farm Bureau.
The bureau is opposed to the wage hike and believe if it is passed, it could mean layoffs, hiring freezes and an increase in prices, which would ultimately make the consumer foot the bill.
Rogers employs 15 people on his farm -- a few who are teenagers who he believes may not need the extra cash.
"I don’t expect our kids who are in an entry-level position to earn enough money to provide for themselves and their families," he said.
But Favella says she disagrees with that argument.
"The next time you go into McDonald's, I encourage you to really look at the staff who is working in McDonald's, it’s not all teenagers," she said.
U.S. Senate candidates John McCain and Ann Kirkpatrick have both come out with stances on the issue. McCain is opposed and Kirkpatrick is in favor.
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