Minimum wage requirement likely to increase daycare costs

Minimum wage requirement likely to increase daycare costs

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Starting Sunday, Arizona's new minimum wage law will go into effect.

It's a result of Prop 206 which voters passed back in November. Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court declined to block the business community's efforts to postpone it.

That means it's likely parents of young children will have to plan to reach deeper into their pockets to pay for daycare.

Bill Berk, a board member of the Arizona Child Care Association, has talked to several preschool centers that will be greatly impacted by this, including his own.

Berk runs Outer Limits School on Ft. Lowell in midtown and said the new law will impact child care costs.

"I'm thrilled to be able to pay employees more," Berk said. "They certainly deserve it, but I'm really nervous as a business owner as how do we pay for it?"

So far, his solution is to raise customer rates to an estimated $20 a month and cut back on workers' hours.

"Some of our families are now going to have to pay double or for some families triple what they're used to paying," Berk said.

Single mom Alexis Lujan currently gets paid slightly above minimum wage and will be getting a raise because of the new law. She has two children enrolled at Outer Limits and admits childcare can be expensive.

Even though she gets help to pay their tuition from the state, she knows her copay will increase.

"It just makes me worry if I'll be able to afford to keep bringing them or not," she explained.

Outer Limits preschool teacher Jessica Thomas hopes that never happens.

She's not too worried about how many of her hours will be reduced. She thinks the extra 75 cents an hour will make a difference, especially with her family's grocery bills.

"It helps when you have a family of six," she said.

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