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Why Colorado’s Minimum Wage Will Decrease in 2010

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Thanks to Amendment 42, the 2006 constitutional measure that is designed to balance the minimum hourly wage, wages are calibrated based on the local Consumer Price Index. When economic times were good, few predicted the CPI might actually decline. It hasn’t since 1965. Now that it has, the minimum wage in Colorado is set to drop by order of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, according to The Denver Post.

As of January 1, the state’s hourly minimum of $7.28 will be lowered to $7.24. But because the federal minimum wage is $7.25, employers will have to pay their workers a penny more an hour than the state minimum. Advocacy groups admit the drop sounds small, but it can add up for low-income workers over the course of a year.

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They hope employers will consider the morale of their employees and won’t lower wages just because they can. Colorado is one of 10 states that link the minimum wage to inflation.

“Colorado’s Constitution doesn’t give us any leeway,” state labor department spokesman Bill Thoennes tells The New York Times. “At this point, we don’t believe we have the option not to lower the minimum wage.”

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