Vote ‘no’ on Amendment 70 | SteamboatToday.com

Vote ‘no’ on Amendment 70







There are valid arguments to be made on both sides of proposed Amendment 70, which would constitutionally increase the state minimum wage from the current $8.31 per hour to $12 per hour, a level that would be reached by 2020 and thereafter adjust the wage annually based up-on the Consumer Price Index.

Our view

Much akin to our stance on Amendment 72, while the state's minimum wage definitely warrants serious consideration and possible modification, a constitutional amendment is the wrong way to go about it.

Supporters contend the state's minimum wage — which factors out to about $17,000 per year, or $300 per week, for a full-time worker after taxes — is "too low to provide a basic standard of living for some workers," according to the official arguments for Amendment 70 listed in the Col-orado 2016 State Ballot Information Booklet.

They also say that minimum wage increases since 2007 — when Amendment 42 set the wage at $6.85 per hour with an annual CPI adjustment — have not kept up with the rising costs of consumer goods.

Opponents argue passage of the measure could ultimately hurt the very employees it was in-tended to help, by way of the lay-offs, reduced hours, curtailed benefits and higher prices that might ensue as employers searched for ways to absorb the increased overhead.

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Though we tend to agree that the state's minimum wage is inadequate and in need of thoughtful examination and possible modification, another constitutional amendment, in our opinion, is not the right way to go about it.

We noted only last week that the purpose of the Colorado Constitution is to assert our rights as citizens and establish a framework for government. Accordingly, it should be amended sparing-ly, deliberately and exclusively to establish sound and solid buttresses to that framework.

Recent history has shown us the economy is not a constant, but a variable, and we think tying the determination of something as important as what is or is not a living wage to another consti-tutional amendment would be unwise. The fact that we're considering an amendment to address the same issue that was addressed by another amendment only 10 years ago supports this po-sition.

It's definitely time to take a look at the state's minimum wage. There is little doubt, improve-ments could be made. But these improvements should be made by the state legislature through statutory clarification to and implementation of Amendment 42, not through passage of another amendment.

At issue

Proposed constitutional Amendment 70, if approved by voters Nov. 8, would incrementally increase the Colorado minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020.

Our view

Much akin to our stance on Amendment 72, while the state’s minimum wage definitely warrants serious consideration and possible modification, a constitutional amendment is the wrong way to go about it.