Worker’s Friend Or Business Drag? One Year Of Colorado’s Increased Minimum Wage

On Monday, New Year’s Day, some workers in Colorado will get a pay raise. The minimum wage will increase 90 cents, from $9.30 to $10.20 an hour. This is because Colorado voters passed a law that gradually increases the minimum wage; by the final year of the plan, in 2020, it will grow to $12 an hour.

As was the case prior to the passage of Amendment 70 in November 2016, both proponents and those in opposition to it have made arguments about its impact after the first year. Sonia Riggs, president of the Colorado Restaurant Association, is against the increased wage. She tells Colorado Matters it will cause restaurants to close and create a greater pay disparity between servers and workers in the back of the operation, like dishwashers.

Michelle Webster, manager of research and policy analysis with the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, is for the wage increase. It’s an important means of elevating the economic impact of the state’s lowest-paid workers, Webster tells Colorado Matters.