(April 26) – A bill to allow counties and cities to increase the minimum wage in their localities beyond the state minimum wage, currently $10.20 an hour, passed the House today.

HB18-1368, sponsored by Reps. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, and Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, would allow local governments to adjust their minimum wage to more effectively address the local cost of living, rather than have to adhere to a statewide standard in a state where local real estate markets and health care costs vary dramatically.

“A family in Boulder County needs twice as much income as a family in Bent County to have the same standard of living,” Rep. Danielson said. “Allowing local governments to raise the minimum wage will help ensure that hard-working Coloradans can afford to live in the communities where they work.”

Research shows that increasing the minimum wage does not harm businesses or lead to a decrease in jobs. To the contrary, growth in wages spurs consumer spending and a healthier economy.

“Minimum-wage workers aren’t playing the stock market,” Rep. Melton said. “They’re buying clothes and groceries. When they get a raise, maybe they celebrate at a local restaurant. The money goes right back into the local economy.”

House Republicans, who claim to favor local control, locked down against HB18-1368. The vote was 36-29, along party lines.

The bill goes to the state Senate, which is controlled by the Republicans.

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