Small businesses applaud passage of Amendment 70

Amendment 70 has been approved by Colorado voters, but debate continues about how raising the state's minimum wage will impact small businesses. As Colorado Outreach Manager for Small Business Majority, a national small business advocacy organization with offices in Colorado, I talk to small-business owners all over the state. I've heard from small-business owners firsthand that they in fact support raising Colorado's minimum wage. Here's why.

Many say they support a higher minimum wage because it reduces turnover and increases productivity, which is good for their bottom line. But importantly, raising the minimum wage helps boost consumer demand — the No. 1 concern for small businesses. Small-business owners believe raising the minimum wage will immediately put more money in the pockets of low-wage workers who will then spend that money at local businesses. This boost in demand for goods and services will help stimulate Colorado's economy and create opportunities for growth and expansion.

When it comes to issues like this, it's important to listen to real small-business owners — and they support raising the minimum wage.

Tim Gaudette, Small Business Majority


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Muni would save residents money with more renewables

I now see why people have been so excited about Boulder's move to create a municipal electric utility, the "muni." I looked over the new financial forecasting tool that the city staff contracted to have done by a company that does this modeling for utilities. The results are pretty astounding!

All the scenarios where the muni rapidly increases its renewable energy save so much money that rates could be lowered well below those of Xcel, with investment left over to increase reliability and improve energy efficiency. (The only scenario where this doesn't happen is if the muni buys its power only from Xcel.)

The reasons seem straightforward: Firstly, the costs of renewables are dropping rapidly. According to a study directed by two former chairmen of the Public Utilities Commission (and recently presented to the county commissioners), the cost of wind (including backup power) is now cheaper than the operating costs of almost all of Xcel's coal plants. So these plants are just not economic to run, even if the plant itself were free. Secondly, Xcel's financial structure has far too much and too expensive equity, given that their profits are essentially guaranteed.

The tool's assumptions are very conservative. They assumed that rates would be no more than Xcel's projected increases, which are similar to the rate increases since Xcel took over Public Service Company of Colorado about 15 years ago. Also, they assumed that renewable energy would cost the same as Xcel's current Rush Creek wind project. This is very conservative when you consider that Rush Creek's costs are over 40 percent higher than the average wind project that is coming online elsewhere. So even if the tax credits disappear under Trump, the numbers still work to our advantage. With the muni, we will be way ahead both financially and environmentally. Seems like a no-brainer!

Suzanne Spiegel, Boulder