Tucson voters decide on minimum wages, council seats, and pay rises for city guides
Tucson voters will receive ballots in the mail beginning in early October to fill three seats on the city council, decide whether or not to raise the minimum wage, and decide whether or not councilors and mayors receive a raise.
If voters approve Proposition 206, the minimum wage in Tucson will increase each year from the current $ 12.15 an hour to $ 15 an hour in 2025.
Supporters argue that it would help workers keep pace with the rising cost of living in the city.
“I would have to work 50 hours a week just to make a living,” said Daniella, 23, describing her finances below the current minimum wage. “It’s not super feasible.”
But Mat Cable, owner of Fresco Pizzeria and an investor in other restaurants, said the higher minimum wage would be a blow to its business.
“It’s bad timing because our food costs are currently at record levels,” he said. “Getting everything from our salespeople – all at a reasonable price – is easy out of the window.”
The proposal not only increases the minimum wage. In addition, larger employers must pay at least three hours of wages if they cut or cancel a worker’s shift with less than 24 hours notice. The proposal would prohibit an employer, owner, supervisor, or manager from accepting money in a tip pool arrangement such as a restaurant. And the proposal also creates a new labor standards department to enforce wage laws.
The councilors’ annual salary is less than that of a man earning $ 15 an hour.
Proposal 410 would give the city council and mayor their own raise – but only after they’ve completed their current terms.
The city council put the proposal to a vote and the measure would increase council members’ annual salaries from $ 24,000 to $ 36,000. The mayor’s salary would also increase from $ 42,000 to $ 54,000.
The increases wouldn’t go into effect until December 2023 after the next city election.
Salaries would then increase annually based on the consumer price index.
However, Tucson voters have historically rejected similar proposals for raise, and the council has not received a raise since 1999.
Sarah Garrecht Gassen, editor of the editorial page at The Arizona Daily Star, said Proposition 410 may have a better chance than previous such measures as it does not increase the current council’s salaries.
But she admitted it’s still hard to sell.
“You could be Superman on the city council now and you wouldn’t get a voter to give you a raise,” said Garrecht Gassen.
Dylan Smith, editor of The Tucson Sentinel, said the low pay was one reason the rest of the ballot papers were relatively sparse.
“That’s partly why we always have these elections where almost no one is running,” said Smith.
Voters elect councilors from districts 3, 5, and 6. But Republicans only run a candidate in one of the three districts.
Republican Alan Harwell is running in Ward 3, which Democrat Karen Uhlich vacates.
City council candidates describe their positions on the subjects in the Arizona Public Media election guide.
Harwell has grappled with ideas like rejecting “critical racial theory” despite the city council not making educational policies, Smith said.
Democratic nominee Kevin Dahl is a longtime environmentalist in southern Arizona.
Lucy LiBosha, a local educator, runs as an independent to Dahl’s left.
Elsewhere, Democratic City Councilor Steve Kozachik is standing for re-election. He faces the independent and local restaurant owner Val Romero.
And the Democratic council member Richard Fimbres is running for re-election without opposing candidates.
October 4th: Registration deadline for voters.
October 6th: Ballot papers are sent out.
October 11: A polling station will be open at 800 E. 12th St. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until election day. At this point, voters can cast a ballot, vote their ballot, request a replacement ballot, or ask for help.
October 22nd: On the last day, the city clerk can send out replacement ballots.
October 27th: Last day for voters to return their ballots. Ballot papers can be submitted at an election location on election day.
November 2nd: election day.