County supervisors studying effects of minimum-wage increase

County supervisors studying effects of minimum-wage increase

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Pima County Board of Supervisors is drawing up a contract right now to better understand how minimum-wage increases affect businesses and workers in southern Arizona.

Earlier this year, the Workforce Investment Board, an advisory board to the supervisors, requested the research be done. The request comes on the heels of the passage of Prop 206.

In a few months, researchers from out of state will look at Pima County's restaurant and businesses for half a year. The idea is to better understand how a wage increase affects cities.

The research team will be given over $22,000 to conduct their work.

Meanwhile, businesses all over Tucson are seeing the effects of the minimum-wage increase even before the study starts.

The owner of Frog & Firkin in Main Gate Square, Jody Raetzman, says she hasn't had to let go anyone from her staff, but hours had to be cut and prices went up 7 percent.

She said, "If we would have gone with a recommendation of a 10-12 percent (increase) our burger would have been $13 and we aren't going to do that to our customers," Raetzman said.

Raetzman and her husband had have to pick up the slack as well, rolling up their sleeves to help out.

Raetzman said, "My husband and I are here pretty much every day. If we can't service our customers the way we want to be serviced ... we are up
here taking tables. We are up here doing dishes, busing tables, everything."

Elizbeth Thomas, a bartender, said, "I think it's really important for owners of small businesses are here and involved because there are so many changes happening."

Next year, another minimum-wage increase takes effect. In 2018, the wage goes up to $12 dollars an hour.

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