Raising Colorado’s minimum wage a win for state and families, says DU report

Raising Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 by 2020 would be a net positive for the state, according to a new report from the University of Denver.

Former president George Washington glorified on the $1 bill. (Classically Printed/Pixabay)
Former president George Washington glorified on the $1 bill. (Classically Printed/Pixabay)
Former president George Washington glorified on the $1 bill. (Classically Printed/Pixabay)

Raising Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 by 2020 would be a net positive for the state, according to a new report from the University of Denver.

The report released Tuesday shows that if voters pass Amendment 70 in November, more than 400,000 households could see an income increase. And $400 million could be added to the state’s economy.

The new research was done by DU’s Colorado Women’s College and sponsored by the women’s advocacy group The Women’s Foundation of Colorado.

The organizations found not everyone might benefit from a pay raise.

Some workers with families might lose access to state and federal safety net programs like food stamps and health care. Most of the workers would have their losses offset by the increase in annual income, but in a “few cases” raising the minimum wage could have negative effects, according to the report.

The group Colorado Families for a Fair Wage is pushing for voters to increase wages for those on the lowest tier of the pay scale.

“Independent University of Denver researchers have validated our position that raising the wage to $12 by 2020 is smart because it will boost the economy and fair for working families struggling to pay for rent and food,” said Felicia Griffin, a leader with the group, in a statement.

Small businesses and industry associations have formed Keep Colorado Working to defeatColorado Families for a Fair Wage’s attempt to increase the state’s minimum wage.

Keep Colorado Working said Tuesday that DU’s report wasn’t a fair look at how raising the minimum wage would impact the state.

The group says Amendment 70 would kill 90,000 jobs, reduce wages by $3.9 billion per year by 2022 and damage small businesses, especially in rural and poorer communities.

Even with the projected doom and gloom, polling this month shows Amendment 70 currently has enough support to pass.

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Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.