Loren Furman, Senior Vice President of State and Federal Relations, joined Colorado’s Morning News on KOA this morning to talk about the City of Denver’s proposal to fast-track a local minimum wage increase beginning in January 2020. If passed, Denver’s minimum wage would raise to $15.87 per hour by January 2021, a $4.77 increase from the current rate.
“What we take issue with is the timing,” Furman said. “We have to retain a talented workforce, and that means providing competitive wages and benefits. But the timing of this process and the fast-tracking of this goal in such a short period of time was never the intent of the Legislature.”
The Legislature heavily debated this issue this year, and ultimately passed a bill on the last day of Legislative Session that allows localities to raise their minimum wages. But lawmakers agreed that employers need predictability, and that any minimum wage increase would be incremental, taking effect at the earliest in 2021.
“What Denver can do is they can adopt an incremental approach like other cities around the U.S. that have just as expensive of a cost of living as we do,” she said.
Furman also emphasized that this proposal would particularly hurt small employers, which will have challenges in adjusting to such a quick change.
“These are the partners of the city, these are employers that create good jobs, that generate tax revenue – what we should do is find ways to work with those employers instead of trying to fast track a policy that was not the intent of the Legislature,” Furman said.