Local Wage Option

Local Wage Option in Colorado

In November of 2016, COPA led a huge victory, winning Amendment 70 to increase the minimum wage to $12 by 2020. While this was a significant step, we know that communities across our state are struggling to keep up with the rapidly rising costs of living. Earlier this year, COPA worked to move legislation to allow local governments to raise their minimum wages and it passed the House, but we’ve got more work to do to make this a reality in our state!

Currently, cities are not allowed to raise their own minimum wages higher than the state’s level, even though there are several cities in Colorado where workers need more than $12 to survive. COPA led the Work Here, Thrive Here Coalition to work to pass legislation that would allow cities to set their own wages, while ensuring that the state’s $12 minimum wage is not undercut anywhere. Though it didn’t pass the Senate, we made progress in the House. Check out our blog post here for more information about the campaign!

The Local Wage Option would allow local jurisdictions to adjust their minimum wage to more effectively address the cost of living for workers in their communities. Because the cost of living varies substantially across the state, it makes sense to allow localities to decide the wage level that matches the local economy. Moreover, expanding the minimum wage helps workers, businesses and communities— urban and rural alike. Growth in wages in any locality spurs consumer spending and a healthier economy. Research shows that increasing the minimum wage does not harm businesses or lead to a decrease in jobs. Support the Local Wage Option and you support working Coloradans, their families, local businesses, and the state economy.

Supporting Working families

  • Full-time workers deserve the ability to afford the basics: child care, education, housing, etc.
  • A single adult with one child living anywhere in Colorado would have to work more than one minimum wage job to make ends meet.
  • Minimum wage workers are primarily adult women and people of color working full time; many are forced to choose between paying rent and buying necessities for their children.
  • In 2016, between 80,000 and 100,000 workers were paid the minimum wage in Colorado.

Colorado’s Economy 

  • Colorado’s economy is booming.
  • Increasing the minimum wage will boost earnings and consumer spending across Colorado.
  • When Coloradans earn more money, they spend it in the local economy.
  • Small businesses grew faster in states with a higher minimum wage and owners support raising it.
  • There is no evidence that raising the minimum wage leads to notable price increases.
  • Minimum wage increases actually boost job retention.
  • Increasing the minimum wage results in little to no job loss. In fact, rural Colorado added 6,000 jobs following the 33 percent increase in the minimum wage in 2006.

For more information, or to get involved, contact Robel at robel@coloradopeoplesalliance.org or (720) 837-3683