Kurland: New Arizona bill could allow employers to pay working students less

The Republican majority in the Arizona House of Representatives, with all 31 votes, passed a bill to allow businesses to pay working students nearly $4 an hour less than the state’s minimum wage.

This piece of legislation should anger every voter in the state.

Eric Kurland

Whether you have a child less than 20 years-old trying to pay their way through college or you are one of the 1.4 million who voted to raise the wage back in 2016, this is an equal opportunity agitator.

Arizona deserves better! I campaigned long and hard to be elected in LD23 and I never heard a constituent say that our kids were making too much money. I did hear that our education system is grossly underfunded.

People spoke passionately about community colleges being zeroed out of the budget and 4-year degrees being questioned as to if they were worth going deep into debt. Which leads me to believe that the elected GOP aren’t out there listening to their constituents. If they were, boy oh boy would they get an earful of questions.

Such as… How can you pass a piece of legislation that the House lawyer, and every legal scholar, has said is unconstitutional? Why should a 19-year-old employee not seeking higher education be guaranteed $12 an hour while the same kid attending Arizona State University receive $7.25?

Will you now have to show a class schedule on a job application? Continuing, why should a child who is part time at school be mandated 33 percent more in wages than if she were enrolled fulltime? Will the 28 year-old single mom be chosen for a job over a kid who is 19 when they would be required to earn $4 more?

Will students choose to go part time to college so they can get paid more? Don’t we want degrees finished in four years?

This is personal for my family. My high school senior will be heading off to college next year. Luckily, he has a grade point average that allows for his tuition to be covered by scholarship, but that still leaves some $15,000 in yearly expenses.

His mom and dad are both teachers so the majority of that will be on him. His question now becomes a decision between $60,000 of debt or to work his way through six years of school. Which leads me to a final question; at what point will people start voting for the best candidate and stop voting for the letter after their last name?

Editor’s Note: Eric Kurland is a Scottsdale resident.

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