PEORIA, Ariz. - The Blythe Center has been open for more than three decades, catering to those who are disabled with a day center and in-home care.
"My aunt started it out of her home," said Susan Bastian, CEO for the Blythe Center. "It’s a family business. Some of our clients have been here for 30-plus years."
In January of 2017, Bastian will have to decide if the organization will shut down.
"We’re going to need an extra $300,000 dollars just to make payroll," she said. "What we’re being paid by the state is far below what it takes to run a business."
When Prop 206 increased the minimum wage in Arizona, it helped a lot of workers in the service industry.
The new law boosted pay to $10 per hour by 2017 and $12 by 2020.
This will heavily affect the budget for nonprofit organizations like the Blythe Center, who are mandated by the state to have a certain number of employees.
The center is a part of the Arizona Association of Providers for People with Disabilities (AAPPD). The association has 80 organizations.
"We can’t cut anymore. We have requirements by the state to have certain ratios," Bastian said, "just like in a classroom for teachers we have to have one staff per every 4.5 students. We can’t change our ratios. We can’t change the price of our rent or overhead. We can’t change the price of our services. It’s not like a restaurant where we change the price of a hamburger."
So what’s the solution?
Susan is working alongside other nonprofits to push the state legislature to call a special session and offer more funding.
If she decides to close, it will impact 100 of her employees and leave more than 100 individuals without any services.
"We’re still working at a deficit and then we put $10 per hour on minimum wage when we can’t afford to do that," she said. "We would love to pay our employees much more than that but it may cause us to close."