Tucson to give raises to some city workers amid pandemic


The city of Tucson has approved a pay raise for its lowest-paid city workers.

Mayor Regina Romero announced Friday that the city had given the green light for a minimum wage increase for city workers to $15 an hour. The change will take place in February.

“As the proud daughter of a union family, I believe that one of the best investments we can make is in our workers,” Romero said. “I’m grateful for the support of my colleagues in ensuring our workforce receives a livable wage.”

The minimum wage for private-sector workers in Tucson and the rest of the state is $12 an hour.

At $15 an hour, a full-time worker would earn just under $30,000 per year. Romero didn’t say how many employees would be affected but a 2019 report on the city’s wage hike to $13 from $11 an hour affected nearly 900 employees and cost an estimated $1.8 million in the first year. According to tucson.com, 330 of the employees were considered full-time workers while the rest are considered “non-permanent” employees. The city also hires high school-age workers in the summer.

Unlike many municipalities across the country, Tucson’s budget is projected to be better off than thought. In a November budget update, city officials said they were receiving more sales revenue than expected due to the rules under the Wayfair U.S. Supreme Court decision that requires retailers to remit local sales tax based on the buyer’s location.

Gov. Doug Ducey signed a law in 2019 that requires local municipalities to reimburse the state for costs associated with contracting workers in the city but the law would only pertain to the private sector minimum wage.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Arizona will be tied for ninth with Maine for the highest minimum wage in the country at $12.15 an hour.

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