Last Monday, state lawmakers introduced a bill that would repeal a 20-year-old law prohibiting local city governments from setting a minimum wage in their communities.

The Local Government Minimum Wage bill intends to better meet the financial needs of residents in their communities.

On a state level, Colorado increased its minimum wage to $11.10 hourly in 2019, with plans for another increase to $12 hourly in 2020. 

However, lawmakers propose giving local governments the option of raising the minimum wage above the state-mandated level.

Leaders of multiple community groups spoke in support of this legislation at a press conference at the Capitol last Monday. According to a release from The Colorado’s People Alliance, the bill has support from local elected officials and employers.

“Municipal leaders will have the ability to determine, along with businesses and citizens in the community, whether or not to increase their local minimum wage,” said Kevin Bommer, Colorado Municipal League deputy director, according the news release

According to a report prepared for the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, the self-sufficiency needs of families and individuals vary dependent upon the county. The report also found “the amount needed to meet the costs of basic needs increased between 2001 and 2018 in all Colorado counties.”

In Boulder County, in order to support a family of just one adult with one preschool-aged child, it requires a minimum wage of $28.44 per hour.

This is $17.34 more than the current minimum wage in Colorado and would require the adult of that family to work almost three minimum wage jobs.

If allowed to increase the local minimum wage, municipal officials would be more equipped to respond to the financial needs of workers in their communities, say the bill’s backers, who add that the bill could provide wages intended to stimulate the local economy and improve self-sufficiency among local residents.

This measure is not favored by small business owners. Robb Horen, the owner of Dog Savvy Boutique in Larimer Square, told Denver’s Channel 7, “As a small business owner you need to take into consideration the cost of doing business. And hours on the clock are something that add up.”

The Local Government Minimum Wage bill is scheduled for a hearing at the Colorado Capitol before the House Transportation and Local Government Committee Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.