Election Guide 2016: Amendment 70 — Raising Colorado’s minimum wage | SteamboatToday.com

Election Guide 2016: Amendment 70 — Raising Colorado’s minimum wage

On the ballot:

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution increasing the minimum wage to $9.30 per hour with annual increases of $0.90 each January 1 until it reaches $12 per hour effective January 2020, and annually adjusting it thereafter for cost-of-living increases?

— Colorado voters will decide whether this state should follow the lead of some other states and cities that have recently raised their minimum wages.

Amendment 70 would raise Colorado’s minimum wage from $8.31 an hour to $12 an hour by 2020.

The minimum wage would increase by .90 cents each year until the new wage is reached.

Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association CEO Jim Clark said the chamber has taken no stance on the tax proposal.

The impact on workers would not be as large in Steamboat as it would be in other cities in the state.

“Here in Steamboat, everyone is likely paying above minimum wage to the best of my knowledge,” Clark said.

But Clark thinks the amendment could still negatively impact the local restaurant industry.

He suggested that because the proposal also would raise the tipped wages for workers, it could create a discrepancy between servers and the back-of-house employees who don’t receive tips.

Statewide, a Denver Post report said critics of the measure worry that the proposal could spur restaurants to switch from tips to service charges.

According to the Post, proponents of the minimum wage increase are pointing to a University of Denver study that “estimates lifting the minimum wage to $12 an hour would pump $400 million into the Colorado economy and boost incomes for 20 percent of households in the state, mostly those earning just above the minimum.”

The proposal is seeing support from nonprofits and labor unions.

The last time voters here weighed in on whether to increase the minimum wage was in 2006, when the wage was increased to $6.85 an hour.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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