AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman says he opposes a proposal introduced by city council member Alison Coombs to raise the city’s minumum wage to $20 per hour. Coffman, a small business owner, called the proposal a “job killer” that would “hurt the same people that it was intended to help.”
“It couldn’t come at a worse time as so many of our small businesses are struggling, under COVID-19, to survive and are trying to decide whether they will fully reopen or permanently close,” Coffman said in a tweet Wednesday.
According to Coffman, the proposal before the Aurora City Council would phase-in a minimum wage increase over 7 years with a 5% mandatory increase in 2021 and 2022, followed by 10% increases each year through 2026 and a 3.3% increase in 2027.
“Whether this proposal passes or not, I’m concerned that it will create enough uncertainty about Aurora’s economic future that it will encourage struggling small businesses to give up now instead of continuing to fight for their survival,” stated Coffman.
In 2016, voters approved a ballot initiative to raise Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 per hour, beginning in Jan. 2020. The minimum wage will increase each year based on the Consumer Price Index.
In 2019, Gov. Polis signed a new bill allowing local governments to increase minimum wage, but they can never decrease it.
Denver was the first to pass a minimum wage increase, which requires phased-in increases up to $15.87 by 2022. The minimum wage would then continue to increase each year in Denver based on the Consumer Price Index.
Aurora City Council’s next meeting is on Sept. 14. A special study session is planned on Aug. 24.