The Flagstaff ordinance at issue sets the current minimum at $15. And it will rise to $15.50 in January; the state minimum, tied to inflation, will go only to $12.80.
Earlier this year, state lawmakers put a provision in the budget to impose a $1.1 million assessment, what agencies claim the higher local minimum wage will cost Arizona taxpayers. Flagstaff responded by filing suit.
Attorney Roopali Desai pointed out to Smith that the state statute setting out a minimum wage specifically allows cities to adopt an even higher figure.
More to the point, Desai said state law is subject to the Voter Protection Act, a constitutional provision that bars lawmakers from tinkering with what has been approved at the ballot. She contends that the more than $1.1 million assessment against Flagstaff — she calls it a penalty — is an illegal violation of the state law, just the same as if legislators were to directly try to repeal the permission for…