Face off: Prop 206 is good for Arizona (Pro)

Liam Huggns, Reporter

Back in November, the residents of Arizona voted in favor of Prop 206. Prop 206 is an increase in minimum wage and starting in 2017, the minimum wage is 10 dollars. This new change will hopefully make a push towards a livable wage and greater opportunity for the youth. There are those who are against Prop 206 who claim the change in minimum wage would hurt workers due to potential layoffs, and increase automation.
While most think minimum wage jobs are entry-level jobs for teenagers, those who are 16-19 only make up 24% of those working minimum wage jobs (Pew Research Center). This leaves a large amount of minimum wage jobs held by adults.
One of the biggest problems people have with Prop 206 has been the idea of layoffs due to the increased cost to businesses to pay their employees. While it is largely expected that some jobs will be lost, the potential job loss is not as large as people would expect. According to a study done by Grand Canyon University estimates that Prop 206 would only cost 13,000 of Arizona’s 2.71 million jobs.
Although a loss in any amount of jobs is bad, it’s also estimated that 790,000 workers, or 30% of Arizona’s workforce, would be receiving more money. This increase of money is not just for minimum wage works though, it will likely affect others already making over $12 an hour.
Another complaint is how increased wages only push the demand of automation in minimum wage settings, but automation is an inevitability for the future. The price of technology and robotics is constantly getting cheaper and while we won’t see all low level jobs being replaced until a while, it’s important to look at the possibilities automation makes for a future workforce. Since the push for automation is also pushing the demand for tech related jobs which require college degrees.
According to the U.S census 71% of the 19.7 million college undergraduates were working a job. With high tuition rates the old minimum wage couldn’t support students looking to pay their fees by working but with an increase of 10 dollars the youth in Arizona can work less for more and focus on college. The benefits working college students will receive from Prop 206 is one of the best ways to ward off high unemployment by automation.
While Prop 206 has mainly been supporting adults, teens have also been seeing some positives from the recent increase. Local McClintock student Alex Hifler works at a local convenience store and while not for or against Prop 206, Alex has seen quite a lot of benefit. When Alex was first hired before Prop 206 he was getting paid $10 an hour, but now he’s set to get a raise to $12 an hour. This should go out as a good sign for the local youth at McClintock worried about their jobs.
Prop 206 is a change for Arizona that, while it has its negatives, is a larger change in focus for Arizona that will help support the youth and secure a better future for the residents of Arizona.