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Judge scraps prevailing wage ordinances in two Arizona cities

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(The Center Square) – A Maricopa County Superior Court judge shot down prevailing wage ordinances in Phoenix and Tucson.

“As both ordinances here violate the intact prevailing wage prohibition, they are preempted and cannot stand,” court documents stated.

A prevailing wage ordinance requires that people are paid roughly the same in a given location for some types of jobs, and it primarily applies to the contracting sector. The two largest cities in the state passed the ordinances in January but were not going to become law until July, according to Courthouse News Service.

While proponents of the ordinances say it would help workers get better compensation, critics worried that it would make contract work more complicated.

“We are thrilled with the court’s decision, which upholds the principles of a free market and removes unnecessary burdens from contractors,” David Martin, President of the Arizona Chapter of the Associated General Contractors said in a news release from the Goldwater Institute.

Phoenix City Councilwoman Betty Guardado said it was disappointing news for those who work for the city, calling the ordinance a “critical tool” for workers.

“I am deeply disappointed by the Maricopa County Superior Court’s decision to deny the City the right to ensure those working within its purview receive fair living wages, improved benefits, and safer working conditions,” she said in a statement on Monday. “When we as a Council passed this ordinance, our hope was that we might uplift our hardworking labor force and guarantee higher quality construction projects for our City by eliminating wage disparities caused by market fluctuations. This decision makes it much more difficult to create an environment that promotes fairness and prosperity for every worker.”

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