Gilbert Chamber opposes minimum wage, marijuana ballot measures

The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce announced its opposition to three 2016 ballot initiatives concerning fair wages and healthy families; hospital accountability and executive pay; and the regulation and taxation of marijuana in Arizona.

“We firmly believe that these issues attempt to mandate employer workplace management through the ballot box which jeopardizes the growth of our economy,” said Rich Vandermolen, Chairman of the Chamber’s Public Policy Committee. “Doing so is bad policy and almost always leads to unintended consequences that cannot be reversed.”

The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce opposes the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act.  The proposal mandates a $12 per hour minimum wage in Arizona by 2020 and increases burdens on employers by requiring mandatory paid sick time for all employees. The Chamber opposes the act for the following reasons:

  • Arizona’s minimum wage law already allows for annual hourly wage increases that are far above the federal minimum wage.  If this proposition passes, the minimum wage in our state will increase by nearly 50 percent in just four short years.
  • It is widely known that minimum wage laws have negative economic consequences and often hurt those most that they are intended to help.   Artificially inflating labor costs forces business owners to lay off workers, reduce hours or increase prices.  In addition, this proposition places Arizona at a competitive disadvantage against other states in attracting businesses here that are looking to expand operations.
  • This proposition also places undue regulatory burdens on employers as it empowers local governments to raise the minimum wage and paid sick time levels above the state minimum.  This patchwork of employment laws across the state would be almost impossible for business to navigate successfully.

The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce opposes the Hospital Accountability and Quality Care Initiative for following reasons:

  • This measure severely diminishes the ability of our hospitals to attract and retain top talent and is a disincentive for highly talented individuals to remain in this vital healthcare industry.
  • This proposition by out-of-state unions seeks to cap the total annual compensation of healthcare professionals which would make Arizona the only state in the country to adopt such a damaging economic policy that will drive away jobs in the healthcare sector and other industries.

The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce opposes the Legalize Marijuana Initiative for the following reasons:

  • Employers would not be able to enforce workplace drug policies in regards to proving “under the influence” versus “impaired” as the ballot language does not clearly define impaired.
  • Several other states are currently amending their legislative statutes due to unintended consequences which would not be allowed in Arizona due to Prop 105.
  • This initiative does not provide for a free market process as it protects current marijuana producers and distributors against new competition in the industry.

These ballot issues were reviewed in-depth by the Chamber’s Public Policy Committee. Final review and approval was received by the Chamber Board of Directors.