Vote no: Minimum wage increase amendment in Colorado will decrease jobs

September 19, 2016

Audrey Jensen

ajensen@uccs.edu

     Last week, one of my best friends, at only 24-years-old, received the call that he was being let go from his dream job.

     He spent three years training on his own and was finally hired by a web development company. He then spent three months working every day to complete codes for websites and other projects.

     But they didn’t let him go because he was bad at his job; they couldn’t afford to keep him on staff since they lost one of their biggest clients.

     This November, Amendment 70 will be on the Colorado ballot. If voted yes, this will increase minimum wage in Colorado to $12 by 2020. By itself, increased minimum wage sounds great, but, broken down, the consequences of voting yes for increased minimum wage in Colorado will have a negative impact.

     What happened to my friend this year will happen to a lot of employees if we try to push a $12 minimum wage increase on every business in the state.

As a 20-something that has had to work many minimum-wage paying jobs, I’m telling you to vote no.

     If you drive around Colorado Springs, you will notice that the thriving city has people pan-handling at the exits of I-25 and the medians of large intersections.

     The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 13,744 unemployed people in Colorado Springs as of July. That’s a 4.2 percent unemployment rate for Colorado Springs, which is higher than the state’s unemployment rate of 3.4 percent.

     According to occupytheory.org, companies would look to cut out non-vital employees and only keep those necessary to their operation.

     You want businesses to pay their employees better, but if they’re not making a profit from their sales, employers won’t make enough money to keep everyone on board.

     In 2015, Costco made $116 billion. Raising minimum wage for this business would be no problem, they make enough in revenue.

     A local taekwondo school in Colorado Springs, where I work in the summer, would not be able to afford to pay their 50 employees $12 minimum wage each based on the profit they make and would result in the loss of jobs that people have dedicated their lives to.

     They shouldn’t be forced to close one of their locations, lose students and drop employees who would have to fi nd a job elsewhere.

     As minimum wage increases, the number of employees will decrease for smaller businesses like the taekwondo school.

     In 2012, a minimum wage increase went into effect in San Jose, Calif., a 25 percent increase that went from $8 to $10 for workers.

     Because of this increase, 42 percent of San Jose businesses cut staff, 45 percent cut hours and 66 percent raised their prices.

     Minimum wage will be great for some workers, but not all of them. You can’t generalize the benefi ts of increased minimum wage. A $12 minimum wage may work for one company, but it doesn’t work for every business in Colorado.

     Yes, people deserve to make livable wages, but in the right way. Forcing everyone to increase the minimum wage pay will only work for so many businesses.

     Higher wages for some people does not make it OK to throw out “less important” employees. But what choice are you giving these companies when they have to reallocate their money to the increased pay wages?

     In the excitement of making livable wages, don’t forget the variables in the equation it takes to create this so-called solution when you go to vote on Nov. 8.