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Business Interests Make Last-Ditch Effort To Stop Arizona Minimum Wage Increase

Business interests are making a last-ditch effort to stop Arizona’s new minimum wage law from taking effect on Sunday.

Attorney Brett Johnson, representing the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other business groups, contends the state high court must intercede before Jan. 1, because the voter-approved new law is unconstitutional.

Johnson argued that once the wage goes up to $10 an hour, it will be difficult to reverse.

"While the Supreme Court is dealing with this issue there's going to be significant ramification for employees, for employers and for businesses," Johnson said. "And those all need to be taken into context. Because if we're right, then those hardships can't be undone."

Last week, a superior court judge refused to block the law from taking effect.

Attorney Jim Barton represents the proponents of Proposition 206.

"The law, as it is now, is that the minimum wage goes to $10 an hour on January 1st," Barton said. "A quarter of a million citizens put this on the ballot. One and a half million Arizona voters passed it. It is the law. And there's no reason to interfere with that.”

At the heart of the court battle is a state constitutional provision which says any voter-approved measure which mandates the spending of state funds must also have a separate dedicated revenue source to pay for it.