McCain and Kirkpatrick Split on AZ Min Wage Prop

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Sen. John McCain received the endorsement of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce from President Javier Palomarez earlier this year - . - STEVE POPE
  • Steve Pope
  • Sen. John McCain received the endorsement of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce from President Javier Palomarez earlier this year.
When it comes to the minimum-wage issues, there’s a huge gulf between Sen. John McCain and his Democratic challenger, Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick.

Last week, Kirkpatrick came out in support of Prop 206, the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act that voters will decide in the November election.

The proposition would increase the Arizona minimum wage from the current $8.05 an hour to $10 in 2017 and $12 by 2020, with future increases based on cost-of-living adjustments. It would also mandate that employers provide with at least three days of sick leave.

Kirkpatrick said that she encouraged “every voter to stand with Arizona families” in a prepared statement.

“No one who works 40 hours a week should have to live in poverty and decide between buying groceries, medicine or paying the bills,” said Kirkpatrick. “Raising the minimum wage offers hardworking families the opportunity to put food on the table, care for their children, and creates a better future for our state.”

But in an interview with the Weekly, McCain said the proposition would be bad for Arizona families.

“Twice I’ve talked to groups of franchisees here in Arizona, Taco Bell and McDonalds, those places that give you the first rung on the ladder,” McCain said. “They said, ‘Fine. The next time you drive up to a window, you won’t be talking to a person. The next time you they hand you a hamburger and French fries, it will come out a slot. … They have a certain profit margin. They cannot raise their cost of their product or people will stop purchasing it. So what are they going to do? They’re going to automate. So somebody is going to have to convince me that it’s good for employment in America, and I don’t think it is.”

Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick: “Raising the minimum wage offers hardworking families the opportunity to put food on the table, care for their children, and creates a better future for our state.”
  • Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick: “Raising the minimum wage offers hardworking families the opportunity to put food on the table, care for their children, and creates a better future for our state.”
Prop 206 has the support of the Arizona Education Association, Arizona AFL-CIO, Arizona Building Trades and Construction Council, Pima Area Labor Federation, Planned Parenthood Arizona, United Food and Commercial Workers and other groups.

But business organizations such as the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Tucson Metro Chamber and Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are opposed to the initiative.

“We understand there are federal guidelines and so far we’re comfortable with those guidelines,” Tucson Metro Chamber President & CEO Mike Varney told the Weekly earlier this year. “We don’t see the need for states to change those guidelines.”

Beyond the proposition that Arizona voters will decide, McCain has a mixed record on the minimum wage at the federal level. While he has generally voted against Democratic proposals to increase the federal minimum wage, he has supported GOP alternatives, according to a 2008 PolitiFact summary of his record. For example, he supported a hike in the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 as part of a larger package that also included business tax breaks and Iraq war funding.

Kirkpatrick has been supportive of Democratic proposals to raise the federal minimum wage while in Congress.

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