Two tipping bills could be on the November ballot that would impact minimum wage

Two initiatives are making their way to the November ballot that would change the way tipped employees get paid in Arizona. 

One would raise the minimum wage for all workers

The other would pay waiters and waitresses less than the minimum wage, but make sure the restaurants cover the difference on a slow day.

On one hand, it's the promise of better pay. The other brings fears of higher prices, fewer customers, and maybe more restaurants going out of business.

Tipping has been a polarizing subject lately if you ask customers.

"The wait staff, they depend on those gratuities to make a living," said one customer, Craig.

"There’s no good answer. I don’t think," another customer, Terri said.

What is in the first bill?

A nationwide group called One Fair Wage wants an $18 minimum wage across the board in three steps, over three years - servers included.

"Your pay shouldn’t be determined by somebody’s personal feelings toward you based on the service that you provided," One Fair Wage's Mariah Ross says. "If you’re working, you should be paid and living wage be able to afford your bills and take care of your family."

But one size fits all wages is a tall order for some small businesses.

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Stephanie Vasquez, CEO of Fair Trade Coffee says the issues are more complex.

"I just don’t think that there’s going to be any one policy that’s going to be able to umbrella and encompass everything that’s needed for all of those teammates," she said.

What is in the second bill?

The Arizona Restaurant Association has its own initiative put on by state lawmakers.

It's called the Tipped Workers Protection Act.

It would let restaurants pay tipped workers 25% less than minimum wage but with a sweetener.

"(If) we have a slow afternoon and I don’t make the minimum wage, you as the owner have to make up the difference from your pocket. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen," Steve Chucri of the Arizona Restaurant Association said. 

Now customers and voters will decide the great tip debate on the November ballot and at a restaurant near you.

One Fair Wage has until July 3rd to get enough signatures and both initiatives could pass at the same time.