Impact of minimum wage increase on businesses

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Starting on January 1, people making minimum wage in Colorado will start seeing more money on every paycheck thanks to voters approving an increase.

While more money is always good for employees, what does this mean for business?

Right now, minimum wage is $8.31. On January 1, that goes up to $9.31.

Every year after that, it goes up by 90 cents, peaking in 2020 at $12 an hour, with increases after that to compensate for the cost of living.

There are legitimate concerns by some businesses in Colorado that this minimum wage increase will force them to close their doors, but not every business shares that mentality.

Ally Warner is a cashier at Bingo Burger. She said this increase is huge for her.

“It’s going to add about an extra 10 percent to my paycheck, so it seems like not a bunch, but over four years it’s keeping me really hopeful,” said Warner.

For the people she works with?

“A bunch of my co-workers were almost going to have to quit Bingo, because they couldn’t make enough just on working here full time on the minimum wage, but with the hope moving forward now they’re definitely talking to Richard, seeing if they can just get a couple more hours and making sure they can make Bingo their full time career,” said Warner.

Richard Warner is the owner of Bingo Burger. He sees no issue with the increase.

“We’re only talking about 90 cents a year, so to raise that to a living wage is something that I think we have to do,” said Warner.

The increase does potentially mean a difference in how his employees do their jobs.

“You’re working smarter. Maybe have some employees work front and back of the house. Dual jobs,” said Warner.

Warner is in grad school. While she’s doing that, she said this increase takes some pressure off.

A big concern by businesses who don’t like this increase is that it will force them to increase their prices, making customers not want to shop there. The owner of Bingo Burger said that is something he will have to do as well. But he expects that customers will be okay with that, because they’ll know it’s going to give his employees a living wage.

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