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Candidate question #12: How will you vote on the minimum wage proposition?
Candidate Question #12

Candidate question #12: How will you vote on the minimum wage proposition?

From the Flagstaff City Council candidate questions series
  • Updated
  • 4

Flagstaff City Council and mayoral candidates have been given the chance to answer a weekly question in no more than 150 words. This week’s question: How do you plan to vote on Proposition 418 and why?

Generally speaking, voting "yes" on the proposition would lower the minimum wage while voting "no" would keep the law as is. 


Dennis Lavin

I will be voting yes on Proposition 418.

Addressing poverty is not mandating a certain wage level. Education and training is the key to a better life. Let’s collaborate with our educational institutions, businesses and not for profits to enhance training skills.

The minimum wage is just part of the cost to an employer. Hidden from view are the employer’s associated cost – FICA, Worker’s Comp, etc. So there is probably a 25 percent add-on factor to the employer cost.

The market place should drive the compensation of our employees. I think the compromise offered by Proposition 418 is fair. A $15.50 minimum wage will not help those we want to help as the cost of living continues to increase in Flagstaff (housing, etc.).

Adam Shimoni

The minimum wage does not hurt the Flagstaff economy, it helps our most vulnerable residents. If we invest in workers, we infuse money into our economy and provide a safety net for all residents. We have among the highest rate of minimum wage hospitality jobs nationally, yet cost of living is 15 percent higher than the national average. This makes it impossible for many residents to live, let alone thrive here. Voters passed Prop 414, which increased minimum wage by $3 since 2016, and will continue to $15 by 2021. Some small businesses have closed, but many more have opened, while others report higher revenues since 2016.

We haven’t seen the economic collapse that those who opposed the minimum wage warned of. I support workers, respect the will of the voters and intend to find ways to help nonprofits and small businesses through City programs. I will vote no on 418.

Austin Aslan

I’ll be voting NO on Prop 418, the misleadingly-labeled “Sustainable Wages Act.” We must honor the democratic process and respect the will of the voters from 2016, in which they decisively declared their support for raising Flagstaff’s minimum wage. The 2016 measure is showing signs of success. Wages have increased for the lowest paid workers in town, new businesses have opened, and sales tax revenues for restaurants and hotels are up. Why fix what is not broken?

It’s important to acknowledge the hardship that some entrepreneurs, businesses and non-profits are feeling. But this is not a zero-sum situation. The higher minimum wage greatly benefits Flagstaff’s workforce. The 2016 measure increased the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, it protects workers’ tips, and it establishes local enforcement mechanisms to protect workers’ rights and prevent wage theft. These undeniably positive outcomes for Flagstaff residents would disappear if Prop 418 were to pass.

Paul Deasy

I am voting No on Prop 418. People need to know there are strong provisions within the current law protecting workers from wage theft. These provisions will be repealed alongside the minimum wage.

I have had over $4,000 stolen from me from various employers. My wife, and three other family members have had their wages stolen as well, from denied overtime pay, to sales commissions cut, to tips stolen by restaurant managers when they “help” run the checks when you’re busy, but move the bill into their own account.

I know dozens of friends and coworkers this has occurred to. Some have taken it to the Arizona Industrial Commission, which is supposed to enforce state labor laws, but the commission doesn’t. I’ve been to small claims court multiple times to no avail. Wage theft is rampant in town, and we must vote NO to keep these protections in place.

Alex Martinez

Proposition 418 will give Flagstaff voters the opportunity to decrease the minimum wage. I will vote yes on Prop 418. I supported the minimum wage increase when it first went to the polls with the intention of helping our local workers.

What I realized later were the implications to our school district, non-profits and small, local business owners. Our school district is already underfunded and this initiative will pull dollars out of the classroom. Non-profits such as Goodwill and those that provide services for the handicapped will be greatly affected and will have relocate out of Flagstaff. Small business owners will have to lay off employees.

In past decades, many more fundamental mechanisms have existed to raise our wages: personal effort, acquiring additional skills, adding to your education, becoming more productive, asking for additional responsibilities, seeking other employment that offer more avenues for growth, to name but a few.

Regina Salas

The disparity between the state’s and Flagstaff’s minimum wage is $3.50/hr by 2022 (Prop 414). An entry-level position costs an additional $7,000/yr plus taxes. It excludes public employees working for state or federal agencies or higher pay grades causing wage distortion.

Experience mediating labor disputes, I view wages with labor economics perspective. Over 90 percent of businesses are small businesses and struggle to stay afloat. Some shops closed, reduced operations or moved. Local nonprofits stopped or reduced services. Prop 414 results to lower take-home pay, underemployment, wage distortion, inflation, increasing costs of goods and services, businesses and nonprofits closing, downsizing or leaving Flagstaff. These are not indicators of economic vitality and vibrant community.

The pragmatic solution: adjust Flagstaff’s minimum wage to $0.50/hr above state’s rate. I support PROP 418. It will allow small businesses and local nonprofits survive and thrive in Flagstaff.


Coral Evans

I did not support 414 in 2016, and I won’t be defending it in 2018. There are some parts of it that are worth keeping such as the increased protection for workers. I also agree that wages should be higher. My disagreements are about the method of raising them. 

I think raising wages without adjusting federal poverty guidelines is dangerous. Many workers also access social services for basic needs such as food, shelter, and healthcare. A fifty cent raise does little for someone who loses their rent voucher. Also, service providers for this community are largely funded by Medicaid dollars at reimbursement rates which are set by the state. Already we have seen 8 group homes leave Flagstaff. Furthermore, I’m concerned about what it will mean for FUSD without more funding from the state can they afford higher wages? Wages should go up all over Arizona, not just in Flagstaff.

Updated at 9:53 a.m. on September 23.

Updated at 4:43 p.m. on November 5.

Adrian Skabelund can be reached at the office at, by phone at (928) 556-2261 or on twitter @AdrianSkabelund.


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