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From the Denver Post 3/23/15
By: Joey Bunch
A Colorado House committee passed two bills Monday to potentially raise the minimum wage.
The first would allow urban and resort communities to raise the local minimum wages, and the other would let voters in 2016 decide on a plan that could hike the state minimum wage to $12.50 an hour by 2020.
Both passed on a 6-5 party-line vote with Democrats in support.
Low-wage earners spoke about how they work full-time jobs for big, wealthy companies but still depend on food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing to get by.
Andrew Olson, 25, a McDonald's worker in Aurora, said at a rally on the Capitol steps that he is getting by with government assistance and still can't afford to get treatment for his impacted wisdom teeth. After two years on the job, he still makes only 20 cents above the state's minimum wage of $8.23 an hour.
"People like us who work hard should be able to afford the basics, like food, a place to live and health care, without relying on public services," he said.
Colorado Restaurant Association CEO Sonia Riggs said restaurants in the state have profit margins between 3 and 6 percent.
"Raising the minimum wage can impact their bottom lines tremendously," she said, adding some could close and others would raise prices, reduce hours for workers or reduce the number of employees.
Harry Hempy of Jamestown made the minimum wage part of his campaign as the Green Party nominee for governor last year.
"Most impoverished adults in Colorado work for a living, and they're employed by international giants," he testified Monday, referring to corporate retailers and restaurants.
While one measure or the other has a good chance of making it out of the Democrat-led House, the issue could face a tough debate in the Republican-led Senate.
Senate President Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, said in a statement: "If they really want to help improve things for working people, legislators should steer clear of a proven job-killer like minimum wage mandates and instead focus on things that actually might help improve Colorado's economy, like regulatory reform, creating schools that better prepare kids for the workforce and taking other meaningful actions that will fine-tune the state's business climate."
My name is RaNae Urso and I specialize in residential sales and buyer representation in the Denver Metro area. I have been in the real estate business over 14 years of my 30 years in Colorado. I enjo....
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