What They’re Watching: Gretchen Jacobs, Arizona Governmental Affairs

Gretchen Jacobs is the CEO of Arizona Governmental Affairs. Gretchen has a degree in political science from USC and a law degree from Santa Clara and spent the first part of her career in civil courtrooms. Gretchen entered the political arena in 1998, and has been lobbying ever since. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss state wages keeping up with minimum wages. 

“Next year, because of a minimum wage increase that was passed at the ballot, the amount of funding to providers who provide services to the developmentally disabled need to get an increase. It is not the same situation as in a restaurant where the owner can increase the cost of the burgers, for example. Providers have to go to the legislature to gain additional funding for it. 

So, when there is a substantial increase in the minimum wage, that needs to correlate with a substantial increase in the funding that developmentally disabled providers receive. So, right now there does not look like there is as much money in the budget that there should be for this. In fact, this funding for these providers, it is not an easy job, there are risks in caring for the developmentally disabled. You may have to change an adult diaper, a patient may bite you, for example. Historically, these were not minimum wage jobs, but during the recession there were a lot of cuts. 

Now when there is a minimum wage increase, which you think would be helpful, it has actually caused hardship because the legislature has not been able to come up with the funds to meet that increase.”