Claims from a study about the negative effects of raising the minimum wage are dubious if not outright misleading, according to a recent brief issued by Chris Stiffler, an economist with the Colorado Fiscal Institute with help from the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.
Commissioned by the Common Sense Policy Roundtable (CSPR), a conservative think tank with ties to business interests, the study claims that increasing the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020 will result in the loss of 90,000 jobs. Stiffler uncovered a number of serious deficiencies in CSPR’s study, which has been cited in several news articles. Furthermore, Stiffler points out that Colorado’s economy gained 71,200 jobs in the two years after Colorado’s minimum wage was increased by 33 percent from $5.15 an hour to $6.85 an hour in 2007.
If approved by voters, the ballot measure supported by the Colorado Families for a Fair Wage Campaign would give nearly 480,000 hardworking Coloradans a much-needed financial boost by raising the state’s minimum wage from a dismal $8.31 an hour to $12 by 2020. As an integral coalition partner in the campaign, the Colorado Center on Law and Policy strongly believes the ballot measure is smart, fair and necessary for the state’s long-term economic health.
Full-time minimum wage workers currently earn less than $300 a week. According to CCLP’s Self-Sufficiency Standard, a single adult working a full-time, minimum-wage job would fall short of his or her basic needs in most parts of the state. Furthermore, there is not a single county in Colorado where a parent could support even one child while working a minimum-wage job without relying on public assistance.
Along with strengthening the financial security of many Colorado families, the measure would spur economic growth and increase consumer spending throughout the state.
“Evidence shows that raising the wage would benefit Colorado workers and the economy,” said Claire Levy, Executive Director for CCLP. “The CSPR study does the public a disservice by overlooking abundant research showing the positive effects. With the November election fast approaching, we will continue to support the case for raising the wage. Our staff plans to go door-to-door to encourage Coloradans to vote yes for this important measure.”
– By Bob Mook