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Local Businesses Adjust To $10 Arizona Minimum Wage

On Jan. 1, Arizona’s minimum wage went up from $8.05 to $10 an hour. 

Voters approved the new minimum wage last year, which will gradually increase to $12 an hour by 2020.

More than 700,000 Arizonans previously made less than $10 an hour.

The state Supreme Court rejected a bid by Arizona business leaders to delay the increase but agreed to consider claims that the measure violates the state Constitution.

Local pet-store owner Marsha Vallee has paid her part-timers more than $10 an hour since the store opened and says higher wages can make for loyal employees.

“I think because of that we’ve managed to keep them with us for 9 years, which is pretty unusual in a retail environment”

She thinks the increase is a good thing for local businesses, though will take some adjusting.

“The sick time will be a new thing for us," Vallee said. "Every year, we try to kick down different benefits for our employees. We’re happy to do it, I think it’s fair and people deserve to have sick time, too.” 

The measure also mandates paid sick leave for both part-time and full-time employees, which takes effect in July.

Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.