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After Denver approves minimum wage hike, will Colorado Springs follow suit?

City leaders in Colorado Springs are looking to Denver after its city council unanimously approved a citywide gradual increase in minimum wages to almost $16 by 2022.

“This increase to Denver’s minimum wage will provide a little bit of relief for those who are struggling the most," said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock in a press release Monday.

The capital city's decision comes after Gov. Jared Polis signed House Bill 1210, allowing state municipalities to set their own minimum wages starting in 2020.

Richard Skorman, Colorado Springs city council president, says local discussions will likely ensue as they try to address the rising costs living in the city.

"We haven't brought it up as a city issue at all yet and now that Denver has passed this, maybe time it's time for us to do that," he said.

Skorman said he doubts the city council would vote on a hike for citywide minimum wages, but any local initiatives would require several public input sessions.

"It's really important to look at all sides of the community, not just the people that are struggling to make ends meet, but the people that are employing them," Skorman said. "And so we have to have that broad discussion if we're ever going to address it."

Mayor John Suthers would oppose Colorado Springs following Denver's ordinance, saying increases in minimum wages could lead to even higher costs of living.

"Don't think there's not a relationship between increasing the minimum wage and a higher cost of living," Suthers said. "The apartment complex has to pay more for the people that mow the lawn, tend to the swimming pool, things like that. That's what drives up the cost of living."

Higher wages would likely not affect corporate businesses and franchises. Local small business owners may find themselves facing tough financial decisions, instead, according to the mayor.

"The vast, vast majority of Americans work for small businesses and they have relatively small profit margins," Suthers said. "Whether a restaurant can stay in business has a lot to do with what they've got to pay the waiters and things like that."

With minimum wage increases, residents may also be affected if menu and retail prices go up so a small business owner can make ends meet.

Still, Skorman says frank conversation have to happen at some point.

"I think it's a good discussion," he said. "It's a good one to have because we're also talking a lot about affordable housing and how people that work and make even $15 an hour are having a very difficult time finding a place to live."

Business / Colorado Springs / Economy / Local News / State & Regional News

Zachary Aedo

Comments

11 Comments

  1. Cost of living is affected by minimum wage. When it goes up. So do the prices of goods and services. Business owners don’t just eat the costs. Denver right now is out of control and they predict a moderate market correction soon. CS is predicted to not be affected as much if at all. So why would we want to follow Denver down the drain?
    Everyone thinks it solves problems of people who are struggling. Nope. It just gives opportunity for more taxes to the govt because taxes are based on your income amount.

    1. The Fed Minimum wage is STILL under 8 bucks an hour. Denver didnt fold under the new wages, and neither did the Springs when presented with wage increases.

      Invest in business and wages, or invest in more homeless shelters.

      1. Where is the big announcement that the cost of goods and service are going to remain the same? It will be passed on to the consumer. When your landlord has to pay more for thing do you think s/he is going to keep your rent the same? When your lease expires if you want to keep living there you will pay an increase in rent for the increased cost for those services. Also taxes will be more as of now you pay about 25% in income taxes also you will pay more in sales tax on products that go up in price.

    2. Well said. Especially about the tax base. Further, the fast food 99 cent menu is now $2.00. Well spent raise. ????

  2. Already plenty of article about businesses who either had to lay off some employees to pay the others more, or close altogether and lay them all off. The free market manages itself quite well.

  3. When will these idiots learn that increasing wages will destroy local businesses and cause others to reduce the workforce or move to other locations. If wages go up so will the cost of living. It is a vicious cycle.

    1. “If wages go up so will the cost of living. It is a vicious cycle.”
      .
      That’s true until such time as they find stability, which is what eventually happens in a free marketplace. But force one side away from being balanced, and it takes time to reestablish the equilibrium.

    2. That’s the entire point. They don’t want people working, they want them on welfare. They don’t want small businesses run by people that think for themselves, they want big corporations that they can make back room deals with.

      Its all about empowering and enriching the elites in government.

  4. I’m in accord with much of the comments already posted. Denver and its excessive leftist policies are a crapshoot. Let’s not follow suit instead should lead to more fiscal responsibilities.

  5. With three people controlling 50% of the wealth talking about the minimum wage is the wrong problem solve. It’s really about income inequality. The minimum wage is just crumbs. I would say the one percent should for their own sake let go of some of the money. Let it actually trickle-down. And if they don’t like that then we can try the French solution to wealth redistribution it’s called a guillotine.

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