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Colorado minimum wage rises to $8 an hour

Published On: Jan 01 2014 07:01:02 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 01 2014 07:08:29 PM CST

KRDO Newschannel 13's Joe Dominguez looks into the new minimum wage in Colorado that's now $8 an hour.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

With every new year comes tough choices for small business owners like Louie Sciarrotta. Since 2006 and thanks to Colorado Minimum Wage Order Number 30, it's the law.

"In Colorado, the law says every year the minimum wage is going to go up whether you like it or not you -- have to live with that," said Sciarrotta, who owns Louie's Pizza.

Beginning today, minimum wage is up to $8 per hour. That's up 22 cents from 2013. The minimum wage for workers that also earn tips is also up to $4.98 per hour.

"People think 22 cents an hour doesn't sound like a big deal, but they don't understand 22 cents per hour times all the employees,  times all the hours per week -- it adds up quite a bit," said Sciarrotta.

The owner says a higher gross payroll also effects unemployment and workers' compensation costs that the business owes.

Sciarrotta said the annual minimum wage hike forces him to reevaluate how large his staff is. He plans on replacing at least some workers this year with a  machine that can prepare the dough he needs for his menu.

"We'll get electronically motivated," said Sciarrotta.

Meanwhile, the nation is seeing a nationwide push to set the minimum wage standard well above the $8 mark.

"I think it's going to raise everyone's standard of living, especially the people who really  deserve it and I think it would be very helpful for them," said Fred Tessler, who supports pushing the minimum wage closer to $15 per hour.

"I think there are plenty who deserve more than they are making right now," said Tessler.

But Sciarrotta said he doesn't see most minimum-wage earners trying to raise a family because the jobs are mostly entry-level.

"I may have four or five employees out of 150 that actually raise a family on this job," said Sciarrotta. "But they make a lot more than minimum wage because they're good employees and I keep them around."

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