Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

As cost of mountain living skyrockets, Dems push for minimum wage increase

Schwartz, Bennet back Initiative 101 to ratchet up hourly wage to $12 by 2020

August 16, 2016, 10:21 am

fight for15With housing and health care costs skyrocketing out of control on Colorado’s Western Slope, some lawmakers and political candidates are backing Initiative 101 as a way to provide some relief by raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.

“I support the Colorado Families for a Fair Wage ballot initiative to gradually increase Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020,” former state Sen. Gail Schwartz said. “I am travelling to every corner of the 3rd Congressional District, meeting with hardworking Coloradans about the challenges facing them, their families, and their businesses. A gradual increase is key to ensure we protect small businesses and jobs.”

Schwartz, a Democrat, is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, who is seeking his fourth term representing the sprawling Western Slope district that stretches from Pueblo on the Front Range all the way to Grand Junction and the Utah border.

Tipton’s representatives have not responded to multiple requests for comment on Initiative 101 as it relates to the high cost of living on Colorado’s Western Slope.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat facing reelection in November, also issued a statement of support for 101 via campaign spokesman Andrew Zucker: ““It’s time to raise the minimum wage and help lift hardworking Coloradans out of poverty.”

A spokeswoman for Bennet’s Republican challenger, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment on Initiative 101, which last week was certified by the secretary of state for the Nov. 8 ballot.

Green Party Senate candidate Arn Menconi, a former Democratic Eagle County commissioner, said he supports the push but would like to see more.

“I’m for the $12 referendum but wish it was $15,” Menconi said. “We need to start where we can help people as fast as possible. I’m not for $15 for small businesses under 50 employees.”

Initiative 101, considered by some analysts one of the ballot measures most likely to pass, would amend the state constitution to increase the current $8.31 minimum wage to $9.30 an hour next year and then raise it in increments of 90 cents an hour each year until it hits $12 an hour in 2020.

Vail Resorts, one of the state’s largest employers, last year increased its minimum wage for entry level workers to $10 an hour in Colorado and seven other states where it operates. Other large companies have also been moving to increase pay while the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009.

Robert Cresanti, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association, says the Fight for 15 movement is a “corrosive” push that will hamper one of the most successful business models in the nation – the franchise model. He argues entry-level jobs in franchise businesses provide invaluable training and then lead to higher-paying management jobs and even ownership.

“The jobs that are growing are in the franchise sector and they are a fantastic ramp for folks to get training,” Cresanti said. “We train more people than the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of Defense. We train more people than the unions have trained over a period of time. And all the while, while you’re getting this training, you’re getting paid for it.”

The following two tabs change content below.

David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *