PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A new state bill would allow businesses to reduce the minimum wage for certain young people.
House Bill 2523 cleared a house committee this week, giving Republican Rep. Travis Grantham an early victory.
"There's a tremendous market out there for people who will work ten hours, five hours, 15 hours,” he said. “Right now, it's very difficult for a lot of employers to hire those individuals.”
Under Rep. Grantham’s proposal, Arizona’s businesses could ditch out on the state's $11 minimum wage in favor of the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
The bill would affect people under 22, who are in school full time and work part time.
"Employers are really excited about this,” Rep. Grantham said. “It gives them the chance to broaden the workforce and giving job seekers the chance to find a job."
Not everyone is happy with it.
In fact, Arizona’s Students' Association said the measure amounts to discrimination for young people.
"If I can serve my country at 18 years old, why should I not be able to get paid what I deserve to get paid?" asked Caesar Aguilar of the Arizona Students’ Association.
Aguilar told Arizona’s Family the bill would lead to a drop in enrollment at Arizona’s schools.
He said he believes students will quit lower-paying jobs and in turn, quit school because tuition will be too expensive.
"(Students) are drowning in debt and it makes us harder to survive," Aguilar said.
House Bill 2523 will now go to the full House for a vote. Among those supporting the bill is Arizona’s Chamber of Commerce.