Minimum Wage Goes Up…Again

Colorado’s minimum wage went up on January 1 by 28 cents to $7.64 per hour. Article XVIII, Section 15, of the Colorado Constitution requires the Colorado minimum wage to be adjusted annually for inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. All the forms and information you need can be found on the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment website.

Minimum wage laws are very popular with the public. However, that doesn’t mean they’re good policy. I was reminded of that recently while talking to a local restaurateur. Forcing him to pay more, especially as he was coping with the recession, was a hardship on him AND his employees (some of whose hours were reduced) AND the people he couldn’t afford to hire. To remain in business, he can’t just absorb those costs and in the downturn he certainly couldn’t pass them on to his customers. His options were pretty limited, so he had to hold the line on payroll by expecting more from fewer people.

This is an example of the unintended consequences of mandates. The Chamber supports allowing the market between employers and employees to determine wages and opposes government mandated wage rates and benefits, which are intrusive and create a financial burden for small business in particular.

For more information on the topic, here’s a newly released Issues Brief by the National Center for Policy Analysis titled “Minimum Wage Myths.