Worst Construction Defects Bill Ever?

Denver’s Beauvallon, a construction-defects horror story.

Denver7’s Lance Hernandez reports–the issue of reforming state law as it pertains to homeowner rights to sue builders over defects in the construction of their homes, in particular multifamily residential developments, has been an annual flashpoint in the Colorado General Assembly for several years. Lobbyists for construction companies claim it’s “too easy” to sue over defects, while homeowners say the only “problem” is that builders don’t want to stand behind their work.

After some talk of bipartisanship on the issue early in the session, Republicans in the Colorado Senate “moved beyond” the compromise that had been agreed upon between themselves and the Democratic House, and introduced legislation that would crack down on homeowner’s rights. Among those bills, GOP Sen. Jack Tate’s Senate Bill 155 might be the shortest in length–and the most brazen in terms of screwing homeowners:

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jack Tate, R-Centennial, and Rep. Lori Saine, R-Weld County, seeks to redefine the term “construction defect” to mean, “a defect in the design or construction of any improvement to real property that causes damage, the loss of use or personal injury.”

“It’s absurd,” said Fort Collins homeowner Michael Pretz. “You have to have a bad outcome before you can consider it a construction [defect].”

Pretz said he and his neighbors sued their developer because some of the attics in their townhomes didn’t have adequate drywall between the firewalls, and because retaining walls were not built with adequate anchors.

“I worked in the fire service for 35 years,” he said. “When you get a fire that goes unchecked from unit to unit, that’s a recipe for disaster.”

Pretz said under this proposed bill, you wouldn’t have any recourse unless there was a fire that caused significant damage. [Pols emphasis]

Requiring homeowners to suffer the consequences from a construction defect before being able to sue to fix it goes against any reasonable policy goal of harm reduction–for the sole purpose of reducing the liability of construction companies to situations where their shoddy workmanship has actually hurt people. We think most people would agree it’s a lot better to get a known construction defect fixed before it hurts people, even if that’s maybe not the most financially advantageous situation for construction companies.

It’s one of those bills that’s so bad you can hardly believe a legislator had the gall to put their name on it.

And yet here we are.

Republican Legislators Can’t Keep Healthcare Talking Points Straight

State Sen. Jimmy Smallwood

As you may have heard, President Trump and Congressional Republicans would like to repeal Obamacare…except that they have no idea what to do for a replacement plan. Here in Colorado, GOP lawmakers have their own proposal to tank the State Health Exchange, part of a nonsense plan that would rely on the Affordable Care Act to pick up the slack at a federal level (of course, the ACA may or may not continue to exist under the current Congress).

As John Frank of the Denver Post reported earlier this week, state Sen. Jim Smallwood is leading Republican efforts to repeal the state health exchange. Take a look at how he explains the GOP rationale here:

Sen. Jim Smallwood, a health insurance broker, is leading the effort to repeal the state exchange, a move that would send Colorado residents to the federal marketplace to buy insurance. The bill is not expected to advance through the Democratic-led House, but the GOP is rallying to the cause.

The freshman Republican lawmaker from Parker is adamant that his bill is not a political statement or “a vendetta against President Obama.” [Pols emphasis] Instead, he argues, the measure is designed to save the state money by eliminating a tax break for insurance companies and preventing future fees on health care plans…

…”There appear to be some obvious failures systemically within the gut of our state-based exchange, and my thought was, would the same thing happen if we were on healthcare.gov?” Smallwood said in a recent interview.

According to Sen. Smallwood, local efforts to eliminate the state health exchange have nothing at all to do with partisan rancor over Obamacare.

State Sen. Owen Hill

Except…well, that’s not what state Sen. Owen Hill says in an Op-Ed for the Colorado Statesman this week:

It won’t be easy, but Republicans have promised the American people a better way on health care, and our state and national leaders must deliver. [Pols emphasis]

Voters have elected a Republican majority in D.C., expecting them to repeal Obamacare…

…I’m proud that my fellow Republicans in Washington are determined to fulfill their campaign promise to repeal the ACA. But this is no mere public policy debate because real people’s lives and jobs are on the line. The GOP Congress and President Trump must also keep another of their campaign promises — to do right by American workers — if they want this repeal to truly improve the lives and health care of the American people.

When Republicans in Congress repeal Obamacare as they have pledged, they must make sure to replace it with a fair and free market where the government plays by the same rules as the rest of us. This means paying fair market value for health care services. Washington D.C. has mismanaged Medicare and Medicaid for years, forcing the rest of us to pick up the tab in other ways.

Republican legislators are saying two totally different things in response to concerns about trying to eliminate the state health exchange. Sen. Smallwood says this has nothing to do with the ACA and that his bill would allow the federal insurance market to pick up the slack for Colorado. Sen. Hill says this has everything to do with the ACA and is hopeful that there won’t even be a federal marketplace for healthcare sometime soon.

This entire exercise is completely idiotic, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the State Senate Majority can’t even keep their talking points straight.

Trump Takes First Step in Dumping TPP; Sen. Gardner Left Hanging

Sen. Cory Gardner isn’t saying much of anything about TPP since Donald Trump was elected.

President Donald Trump signed a couple of executive orders this morning aimed at backing up some of his campaign rhetoric, including the first step in withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). As the New York Times reports:

President Trump formally abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Monday, pulling away from Asia and scrapping his predecessor’s most significant trade deal on his first full weekday in office, administration officials said.

Mr. Trump sharply criticized the partnership agreement during last year’s campaign, calling it a bad deal for American workers. Although the deal had not been approved by Congress, the decision to withdraw the American signature at the start of Mr. Trump’s administration is a signal that he plans to follow through on promises to take a more aggressive stance against foreign competitors…

…The president’s withdrawal from the Asian-Pacific trade pact amounted to a drastic reversal of decades of economic policy in which presidents of both parties have lowered trade barriers and expanded ties around the world. Although candidates have often criticized trade deals on the campaign trail, those who made it to the White House, including President Barack Obama, ended up extending their reach.

“We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” Mr. Trump said as he signed a document formalizing his decision. The withdrawal from the trade pact, he added, is a “great thing for the American worker.”

Trump may not be “down with TPP,” but this move puts Republicans such as Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) in a difficult position. Gardner, of course, has long been an outspoken supporter of the controversial trade deal. In an address to the Forum for Global Leadership in Denver, Colorado in July 2015 (video below), Gardner called the TPP “perhaps one of the most important achievements of this Congress” and was effusive in praising its merits:

“One of the best opportunities we have in a generation is the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Since the election of Donald Trump as President, however, Gardner has largely avoided the issue of TPP in favor of general blustery statements about the importance of international trade in general. Here’s Gardner speaking with National Public Radio (NPR) last week:

It is extremely important that the United States lead on matters of trade. We want a world trade opportunity that looks like it’s based on U.S. norms and the values that we hold, in terms of free markets and economic value. So it is important that we continue to advance trade alliances and opportunities to enter into trade agreements.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) has had a mixed history with TPP, but said in October that he opposed the deal in its current form. Bennet’s role here is much less significant than that of Gardner, who also happens to be the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy (under the Senate Foreign Relations Committee). Gardner is in a leadership position in the Republican Senate, with a specific focus on trade with Asia, and he is working under a newly-inaugurated President of the same political party who made it one of his priorities to ditch TPP on his first full workday in the Oval Office.

Gardner’s opinion here is more than relevant, but speaking out against Trump won’t help him get off the President’s naughty list, so Gardner will do little more than wave as TPP slinks away.

Boeing Survives Trump Twitter Onslaught–This Time

UPDATE: MarketWatch tallies the damage:

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President-elect Donald Trump.

President-elect Donald Trump.

President-elect Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which may or may not be making autonomous decisions about the fate of the free world at this point, struck again early this morning with an outburst directed at one of America’s most important worldwide export businesses, aircraft manufacturer Boeing:

Donald Trump on Tuesday called for the cancellation of a Defense Department contract with Boeing to build the next generation of presidential aircraft, decrying the deal as too expensive.

“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!” the president-elect wrote on Twitter.

As it turns out, Trump’s Twitter tirade against Boeing came in response to comments from the CEO of the company that were apparently not supportive enough of the incoming President’s trade policies:

Trump’s tweet came just 22 minutes after the Chicago Tribune published comments by Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, who said he worried that Trump’s promises of a more protectionist trade policy could hurt his company, which does robust business with China. Muilenburg told the Tribune that he would urge the president-elect to take a warmer stance toward the kinds of trade deals he railed against on the campaign trail, warning, “If we do not lead when it comes to writing these rules, our competitors will write them for us.”

Per usual, nobody knows where Trump got these numbers from, as Yahoo! News’ Michael Walsh reports:

It’s not clear how Trump, who frequently tweets exaggerated or baseless claims, arrived at that number. Reuters, citing budget documents, reported that the “budgeted costs for the Air Force One replacement program are $2.87 billion for the fiscal years 2015 through 2021.”

The aircraft manufacturing company issued a statement clarifying that it is currently under contract for $170 million to determine the capabilities of the new aircraft.

But who cares? The message Trump wanted to send was sent.

Boeing stock slumped Tuesday morning in the wake of the president-elect’s remark, [Pols emphasis] but rebounded somewhat as the morning progressed.

Yes, Boeing’s stock price rebounded once the market realized Trump’s attacks were baseless, but Trump’s ability to hurt Boeing’s market valuation just by Tweeting about them is a warning that very few CEOs in America will miss. The nexus of President-elect Trump’s celebrity influence and the real power he is about to have as President is producing something new in our politics.

And if Trump is going to use it to silence his critics, it’s both new and scary.

Act before it’s too late for overtime pay!

Yesterday, a federal judge in Texas “temporarily” blocked President Barack Obama’s new overtime rules, which would have given millions of the hardest-working Americans a fairer deal for the long hours they put in. Preventing the new overtime rule from taking effect means the next President avoids the blame for taking millions of dollars in earnings away from American workers who need it most.

It’s a terrible swindle just in time to get buried by a long holiday weekend.

We’re running out of time to fix this before President Obama leaves office. This misguided ruling must be reversed now. Sign our petition: tell the Obama administration’s Labor Department to immediately appeal to a higher court and fight to the last day they’re in office.

The rules governing overtime pay for millions of salaried American workers haven’t been updated in 40 years. That’s the reason workers making as little as $24,000 a year can be exempted from overtime laws. The new rules would have put money into the pockets of over four million middle class working Americans starting December 1st.

Now it’s not going to happen, and we have to speak out. Salaried workers making between $25,000 and $50,000 per year are the heart of our economy–the next aspiring middle class, young families and professionals, made up of Americans of every ethnicity and background. If we can’t protect the American Dream for these hardworking Americans putting in 60, 70 or more hours per week thanklessly, what kind of country are we going to leave to the next generation?

Help us send the message right now that our fellow Americans deserve better. Tell President Obama’s Labor Department to do whatever it takes to implement the new overtime pay rule.

Thank you for taking action on this critical issue.

Poll: Will Amendment 70 Pass?

With the 2016 elections less than one week away, we’re rolling out informal, highly unscientific polls of our readers to gauge where key races and ballot measures stand. As always with our reader polls, we’re looking for your honest prediction–not your personal preference.

Amendment 70 would raise Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.

Will Amendment 70 pass?

Melissa’s Story

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

ProgressNow Colorado Education, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, scored a viral hit with a new video ad highlighting the story of a Colorado single mom who “can’t survive on $8.31 an hour.” The video has been viewed over 60,000 times in less than 48 hours on social media.

“Everyone in Colorado needs to hear Melissa’s story,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “But the truth is that thousands of Colorado families deserve better for the hard work they do every day. They deserve to be able to feed their family and pay their bills. No one who works hard in Colorado should live in poverty. We need a wage in Colorado that Melissa can count on to feed and shelter her children.”

“Hard-working Coloradans earning minimum wage are not just kids working summer jobs, they are real people trying to support real families,” said Silverii. “Colorado has acted to raise the minimum wage before, but it hasn’t kept pace with increases in the cost of living. We know that low-wage workers who get a raise plow that money right back into the economy, which benefits us all. But most importantly, families are better able to afford the necessities of life they work so hard to provide.”

“Telling the stories of families like Melissa’s will help Coloradans understand that the talking points pushed by pundits and the special interests who want to keep wages low hurt real people who work hard every day,” said Silverii. “Colorado can’t get by on $8.31 an hour.”

ProgressNow Colorado Board Votes To Oppose Amendment 71

After studying the details of Amendment 71, the “Raise the Bar” statewide ballot measure that would make constitutional amendment ballot initiatives substantially harder to qualify, the ProgressNow Colorado Board of Directors has voted to oppose the measure. ProgressNow Colorado’s opposition to Amendment 71 comes after numerous nonpartisan public policy groups have announced their opposition in recent days.

“Having struggled with the consequences of the misguided 1992 TABOR Amendment for decades, we share the frustration of those who say our state’s constitution is too easy to change,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “Unfortunately, Amendment 71 goes too far to restrict the basic rights of Coloradans to enact, modify and repeal laws through statewide ballot measures. The goal may be worthy, but the measure as written is simply overkill.”

“Having worked in the Colorado legislature for years, I know firsthand that referred measures from the legislature to voters solve problems–sometimes urgent problems,” said Silverii. “Holding referred measures to the higher ‘majority-plus’ bar Amendment 71 demands for citizen-initiated measures creates yet another impediment to our lawmakers doing their jobs.”

“Above all, making it harder to qualify measures for the Colorado ballot without effective campaign finance reform will not reduce the attempts by special interests to modify the constitution,” said Silverii. “All it does is raise the price tag to qualify, ensuring that only the wealthy and well-connected can afford to participate in the initiative process, rigging the system for big special interests and against ordinary Coloradans.”

“We may agree there’s a problem with irresponsible permanent changes to Colorado’s constitution,” said Silverii, “but Amendment 71 is not the solution.”

BREAKING: Hickenlooper Backs Minimum Wage Increase

THURSDAY UPDATE: Colorado Public Radio’s Rachel Estabrook reports:

In an interview with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner, the Democratic governor said he is concerned that people making minimum wage now can’t afford to live in many parts of Colorado.

“I’m not sure there’s another way to help move more people out of poverty than to raise the minimum wage… I think in this country, if you work 40 hours a week, and you work hard, you ought to be able to afford an apartment somewhere,” Hickenlooper said.

—–

That’s the late-breaking word from Colorado Public Radio via Twitter:

We’ll update with CPR’s interview tomorrow, but we figured readers would want to give feedback as soon as the word was out. Gov. John Hickenlooper’s support for Amendment 70, as a pro-business former bar owner, is a critical boost for the campaign to increase Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.

And it’ll be a pleasant surprise to his Democratic base.

The Return Of Economic Doomsday Dude Eric Fruits!

Right-wing go-to economics dude Eric Fruits.

Right-wing economist dude Eric Fruits.

The Denver Post’s Aldo Svaldi reported this week on competing studies in favor and opposed to Amendment 70, the proposal to increase Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020:

Lifting Colorado’s minimum wage from $8.31 an hour to $12 an hour would pump $400 million into the state economy and raise living standards for one in five households — all with minimal impacts on inflation or total employment, according to a study released Tuesday from the University of Denver…

About 400,000 Colorado households will see higher incomes, half of those families with children, if Amendment 70, the higher-minimum-wage measure up for a vote in November, passes, according to the study.

All of which sounds great, but as you can imagine, opponents have their own study forecasting massive job losses for Colorado–and it’s from a name our longtime readers will recognize:

Opponents of Amendment 70 point to a study from Portland State University economist Eric Fruits that estimates Colorado could end up with 90,000 fewer jobs if the minimum wage rises to $12 an hour.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure, Eric Fruits is a right-wing “free market” economist based in Oregon, whose dire predictions of massive reduction in Colorado employment back in 2011 helped the ill-fated Proposition 103 education tax increase proposal go down in flames. Fruits’ already dubious forecast was wildly exaggerated by local opponents of Proposition 103, eventually claiming “over 100,000 jobs would be lost” if that modest tax hike had passed.

This time, however, minimum wage increase proponents aren’t taking Fruits’ doomsaying lying down:

Chris Stiffler, an economist with the Colorado Fiscal Institute, a pro-70 group, back tested Fruit’s model with the bump up in the Colorado minimum wage to $6.85 from $5.15 to that occurred on Jan. 1, 2007.

Colorado gained 71,000 jobs in the two years that followed and didn’t suffer the losses that Fruit’s model projected would happen, given a 33 percent jump in the state minimum wage. [Pols emphasis]

That’s right, folks–applied to real-world experience, Fruits’ gloom and doom “model” doesn’t hold up at all! The hyperbolic hand-wringing over Fruits’ predictions of economic disaster got so bad in 2011 that after awhile, we could only lampoon it–but as the saying goes, “a lie travels the world before the truth can get its pants on.”

The rule today with Eric Fruits, just like then, is don’t believe the hype.

GOP Pollster: Wage Hike Finds Favor With Colorado Voters

2016minimumwageAs the Denver Business Journal’s Ed Sealover reports, polling numbers out from GOP-aligned Magellan Strategies spell good news for Amendment 70, the ballot measure to raise the state’s minimum wage–and bad news for Amendment 69, the ColoradoCare single-payer health insurance proposal:

A constitutional amendment to raise Colorado’s minimum wage holds a 13-point lead in the first publicly released poll on the proposal, which came out on Tuesday.

Also, the ColoradoCare amendment to create a statewide single-payer health-care system is getting crushed by a margin of roughly 2-1/2-to-1, according to a second poll put out by Louisville-based Magellan Strategies…

Amendment 70, which would raise the state’s minimum wage from $8.31 an hour to $12 per hour in steps by 2020, gets 55 percent support in the sample of 500 likely 2016 general-election voters that was conducted from Aug. 29-31. Another 42 percent of voters oppose it, while just 3 percent remain undecided roughly two months before the Nov. 8 election.

The numbers for Amendment 70 look even better under the hood, with a bigger margin of Democrats in favor than Republicans opposed–and best of all, a huge lead for the measure among independent voters, 65-35%. The survey also looked at Amendment 69, the ColoradoCare proposal, and the same respondents who score minimum wage so highly are slaughtering single-payer health care 65-27%. Even Democrats oppose Amendment 69, though by a smaller 45-41% margin.

Support for Amendment 70 may be taking even some Democrats by surprise. This past weekend, Gov. John Hickenlooper was interviewed by 9NEWS Brandon Rittiman about the proposal, which he claims to be “undecided” about but as a former bar owner has a natural predisposition against. Hickenlooper didn’t do a very good job talking down the measure, however, bogusly forecasting harm to agricultural employers when farmworkers are exempt from the proposal, and claiming that in downtown Denver servers “already” make $20-30 an hour. While that may be true at the Wynkoop or other higher-end eateries and watering holes, the median wage for tipped workers in Colorado is in reality just over $9 an hour.

If Amendment 70’s numbers stay strong into October, Hickenlooper may want to revisit his knee-jerk reaction to a $12 an hour minimum wage–especially when his own party’s platform is calling for substantially more.

Call it a question of getting with the times.

Trump On The Air in Colorado

UPDATE: The Washington Post tries to sort out the mishmash of claims in this ad without much success:

Amateur hour: Trump’s new TV ad cites two contradictory tax plans — one that Trump has explicitly ruled out and another that he has yet to endorse — raising more questions about what policies the GOP nominee actually supports. NBC News’s Benjy Sarlin looked at the small print in the 30-second spot: “For the ad’s claim that ‘working families get tax relief,’ it refers viewers not to an analysis of Trump’s own tax proposals, but to a white paper by House GOP leaders about their own tax reform plan. Similarly, the next section promising ‘millions of new jobs’ directs viewers to an analysis of the House GOP plan by the conservative Tax Foundation. Trump has not endorsed the House GOP plan outright, but his new proposal, announced earlier this month, has some similarities…”

“Things get even more confusing as the commercial continues. The ad’s next two claims that Trump would make ‘wages go up’ and ‘small businesses thrive’ refer to his old tax plan from last year, which had drastically different rates, including a 0% bracket at the bottom and a top rate of 25%. The on-screen citation directs viewers to a Tax Foundation analysis of that now-defunct proposal from September 2015. Trump erased his old plan from his website shortly before he announced his new one in a speech to the Detroit Economic Club earlier this month.”

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AP reports via CBS4, but you’ve probably already seen it:

The campaign is expecting to air a new ad focused on the economy as soon as Monday in nine states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida, where the campaign has already been on the air, along with New Hampshire, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada — all battleground states.

Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has so far been badly outspent by his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, and groups supporting her. Since clinching her party’s nomination in early June, Clinton has spent more than $77 million on television and radio advertising, largely targeting voters in battleground states, according to Kantar Media’s political ad tracker…

The new investment comes amid signs that Trump’s lagging poll numbers may be improving against Clinton’s following a campaign reboot.

We haven’t seen new polling numbers to know if Colorado is part of Donald Trump’s rumored recovery, but it’s reasonable to assume that the poll numbers will tighten somewhat between now and Election Day.

Either that, or there will be no reason to keep running ads.

It’s worth noting that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has already stopped advertising in Colorado, focusing on field campaign efforts here with an expectation that the race is won. That could quickly change if Trump shows recovering strength in this state, but Clinton’s double-digit lead is a formidable rampart to chip away at.

We expect Trump’s campaign will be watching closely for a return on this investment in upcoming polls, which will justify or repudiate the efficacy of further spending in Colorado. Is this ad persuasive enough to make a dent in Clinton’s lead, or just going through the motions ahead of the inevitable?

Rep. Kevin Priola Doubles Down on “Family Values” Gaffe

priolakidsOne of the more significant messaging problems for Colorado Republicans this year during the legislative session was a gaffe committed by Rep. Kevin Priola, now a candidate for the Colorado Senate in closely-divided Senate District 25 in Adams County. Priola was part of a committee debating a bill to expand family leave rights for employees to attend their children’s academic functions. Priola voted no on the bill, but not before requesting a delay of the vote so he could take his own children to a doctor’s appointment.

The issue is expected to loom large in Priola’s closely-watched race for the Senate against Democratic opponent Jenise May–and as the Colorado Statesman’s John Tomasic reports, Priola seems eager to tackle the problem head-on:

This year at the Legislature, progressive groups pilloried Priola for voting against a parental leave bill after asking for time off from the committee that was considering the bill in order to take one of his kids to the doctor. Priola’s critics called him a hypocrite.

Priola said the flap actually says something positive about how he goes about his work at the Legislature.

“Honestly, it was going door to door that colored my decision on that bill. I’ve probably knocked 45,000 doors through the years. Not once, not one time, has one person ever said, ‘You know what, I really wish I had time off to go to my kids parent-teacher conference. [Pols emphasis] That’s a problem in my life.’ That never happened, not one time. And that’s because people live in the real world. They have good relationships with their employers, and employers know that if they’re too harsh, employees will just call in sick to go to the conference, or they’ll say their aunt died…

“It’s having that real world experience. I’m a small business owner. I work with people. I have lots of conversations. Too often, people run legislation that sounds good but that just clutters up the statutes, and no one is really coming to say this is a real problem. So you sometimes say, ‘C’mon, maybe this is just silly.’” [Pols emphasis]

Needless to say, or at least we hope it isn’t needed, this is a really horrible answer. The truth is that working parents of school-age children do need leave from work from time to time to attend their children’s academic functions. Priola “never heard about it” knocking on doors because he didn’t ask. But if you ask parents if they think they should be able to take leave from work for their kid’s school functions, they’re going to say yes in overwhelming numbers.

And that’s why downplaying parents’ need for parental leave, and especially calling the issue “silly,” is a huge mistake for Priola. Democrats have already signaled an intent to attack Priola on this issue, and this dismissive response proves the point they are trying to make. Sure there are a lot of good bosses, but Priola’s assumption that everybody has a good boss just doesn’t hold water in middle-class reality.

To have made the original mistake during the legislative session is one thing. To crassly double down like this as a candidate in a tough race? That’s a sign of real hubris.

Minimum Wage Hike Makes The Ballot

12by20A release from Colorado Families for a Fair Wage celebrates the qualification of Amendment 101, a measure to raise Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020, for this year’s general election ballot:

A coalition of business owners, workers and supporters with Colorado Families for a Fair Wage had submitted 200,000 signatures, more than double the 98,492 signatures needed to qualify, showing overwhelming support for the measure.

“Our coalition of business owners, workers and supporters is energized by the voters’ enthusiasm for our ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage to $12 by 2020,” said Lizeth Chacon, Colorado Families for a Fair Wage co-chair. “Raising the minimum wage is smart and fair. It’s smart because when working people have more money in their pockets, they spend it here in Colorado, boosting our economy and helping our communities thrive. It’s fair because people working full time should earn enough to support their families.”

Extensive research shows that modest raises in the minimum wage like this proposal helps the economy by increasing consumer spending – and does not result in job loss in sectors most likely to hire minimum wage workers. Because low and middle-income workers are more likely to spend pay increases than higher paid workers, each $1/hour wage increase creates a ripple effect in spending, generating $1.20 in the local economy, potentially leading to further job growth.

“We are solidly behind raising the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020 and we expect to be paying our own employees more than that by 2020. In our ten years of operation, we have seen results that show if we pay our staff higher wages, we have a better retention rate and we spend less money on hiring and training so we are able to keep our best employees and keep our high standards of service at the levels our customers expect. In turn, the business makes more money as we have a high number of loyal, repeat customers,” said Jeff Rogoff, co-owner of Sazza, a fast casual restaurant in Greenwood Village. “Even more important, we are giving our staff the ability to efficiently take care of their monthly bills and contribute to Colorado’s booming economy.”

We expect this to be a hard-fought campaign between proponents of Amendment 101 and the Colorado Restaurant Association, but polls say the public strongly supports an increase to something closer to a survivable amount of money for full-time workers to live on. Campaigns like “Fight for 15” from labor unions have raised awareness of the plight of low-wage workers in America, from an inability to provide for themselves and their families to the resulting dependence of full-time working families on government assistance–assistance that carries negative stigma hard-working peeple do not deserve.

On the other hand, you might have to pay a bit more for your Big Mac. So there’s that.