If cities want to try and help their workers get paid sick leave, the Arizona state government will punish them with harmful budget cuts.
Most sane people agree that it makes sense for workers to have paid sick leave. After all, who wants to eat food prepared by a worker who has the flu but came to work anyway because they can’t afford to take an unpaid day off?
The minimum wage in Arizona is $8.05 an hour, one of the lowest in the nation. And of course, Arizona is controlled by Republicans who couldn’t give a flying f*ck if their citizens are so underpaid that they have to go to work sick or risk not being able to pay the rent that month.
Cities once attempted to raise the minimum wage for workers, but Arizona Republicans shut them down with a law forbidding them to do so. But the people got pissed and overturned the law via referendum, which angered Republicans so much that they tried to pass another law limiting minimum wage. You know, because serfs shouldn’t be able to rise up against feudal lords. But once again, the people of Arizona got the law struck down in court which has caused Republicans to hold a grudge against the peasants ever since.
So when Tempe, Arizona made an effort to pass a mandatory paid sick leave law, Arizona Republicans in the state legislature reacted immediately to make sure big corporations don’t have to pay a cent to help the workers who work so hard to make the company rich.
Arizona’s House passed a bill on March 1 specifying that cities aren’t allowed to require private employers to provide paid sick leave or vacation. The state Senate has passed companion legislation that would cut state funds, used to pay for services like police and firefighting, for cities that try to supersede state laws.
Arizona Republicans are literally threatening cities across the state with critical budget cuts that fund critical services if they dare lift a finger to help workers. Governor Doug Ducey also supports the legislation so it could very well become law.
And if you aren’t quite pissed off enough yet, just wait till you read what Arizona GOP Senator Andy Biggs had to say about his party’s effort to make workers feel like slaves.
According to Biggs, cities “think that they’re an independent and sovereign entity from the state, which is not true—they’re a creature of the state. You can’t put a municipality in jail, nor would we. What we’re really seeking to do is provide a deterrent effect.”
Yeah, the kind of deterrent that says Republicans are flaming hypocrites when it comes to saying they support small government. Instead of cheering on local governments for making decisions themselves, Arizona Republicans have declared that the state is a mini-tyranny where only the state gets to make the rules and good luck getting any money for your city or town to protect yourself against bands of thieves, killers, and fires if you rebel against King John in an effort to help the working poor.
Seriously, where’s Robin Hood when you need him?
By Stephen D. Foster, Jr. / 03.21.2016