We are so fortunate to live in this community and in the state of Colorado: its natural beauty, the values and attitude of the people here, the opportunities to grow families in a place that brings those things together.
But we can’t do that if we can’t afford to feed our families and if the work doesn’t pay enough to make ends meet.
The minimum wage was established to help keep working families out of poverty, but full-time minimum wage earners take home less than $300 a week after taxes – not enough to pay for rent and put food on the table.
These workers have no choice but to rely on public assistance to survive, forcing taxpayers to subsidize irresponsible low-wage business models.
Our economy has changed – the average age of workers earning less than $12 per hour is 35 – nine out of 10 are over the age of 20. When these adults have more money, they spend it at local businesses, growing the local economy rather than harming it.
Places that have passed minimum wage increases have not seen the job losses critics warned against. I hope Colorado voters support the ballot measure to raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020 – it’s modest increase, phased in over time so hardworking families and small businesses alike can survive and thrive.
It’s a moral imperative that makes ours a more just state, a place not only more livable, but more in keeping with our values.
Editor’s note: Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris is minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango.