Filed friend of the court brief in the Arizona Supreme Court
Await decision from the Court
This case challenges the constitutionality of the increase in the state minimum wage. Among other things, that increase forces taxpayers to bear the burden of paying state contractors more for public services. Yet the Arizona Constitution requires that any time an initiative increases mandatory state spending, that initiative must say where the money will come from. That requirement was added by Prop. 101 in 2004 to protect taxpayers from having their pocketbooks raided at the ballot box. The minimum wage increase is now being challenged by a coalition of taxpayers and business owners, and the Goldwater Institute is joining the fight.
Minimum wage increases are a terrible idea, that most hurt the people they’re supposed to help. Minimum wages are essentially a tax on businesses that offer entry-level jobs. They essentially declare that it is better for people to have no job at all than to have a job that pays less than (in this case) $12 per hour. But it should be up to employees and employers to decide for themselves how much wages ought to be. Taking that decision away from working people doesn’t help them.
Jon Riches is the Director of National Litigation for the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation and General Counsel for the Institute. He litigates in federal and state trial and appellate courts in the areas of economic liberty, taxpayer rights, public union and pension reform, government transparency, free speech, and school choice, among others. Jon has developed and authored several pieces of legislation, including the landmark Right to Earn a Living Act, which provides some of the greatest protections in the country to job-seekers and entrepreneurs facing arbitrary licensing regulations. His work at the Institute has been covered by national media, including the Wall Street Journal, CBS This Morning, Bloomberg News, and Politico. Prior to joining the Goldwater Institute, Jon served on active duty in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. While on active duty, Jon represented hundreds of clients, litigated dozens of Court-Martial cases, and advised commanders on a vast array of legal issues. He previously clerked for Sen. Jon Kyl on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, worked for the Rules Committee in the Arizona State Senate, and clerked in the Office of Counsel to the President at the White House. Jon received his B.A. from Boston College, where he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his J.D. from the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law. Jon is an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He is a native of Phoenix, Arizona.