$520-a-year minimum wage increase creates heartburn at swanky Broadmoor

Minimum-wage workers in Colorado will get an automatic 26-cent raise on Thursday, from $7.02 to $7.28. And, as the Colorado Springs Gazette points out, the manager of the 5-star Broadmoor hotel, which spent $100,000 opposing the voter-approved increase in 2006, is still grousing about the mandate. But, looked at another way, the increase represents about $520 per year for minimum wage employees –- considerably less than the $680-a-night price tag for a single night’s stay in a suite at the swanky Colorado Springs resort.

And, as one online commenter to the published story has also noted, the $520-a-year wage increase — calculated at a 2,000-hour work level over the course of the year — is also far, far less than the $4,700-a-year pay raise that members of Congress have given themselves, which also kicks in on Thursday.

According to the Gazette report, minimum wage earners may appreciate the 26-cent an hour raise, but some business owners “say it’s another blow to them as they struggle to gain revenue in a slow economy.”

Steve Bartolin, manager of The Broadmoor, was particularly critical because the constitutionally mandated increase includes tipped employees, who often earn more than non-tipped employees. The increase will add $150,000 to The Broadmoor’s annual payroll, he said.

Two years ago the Broadmoor was one of the biggest contributors to the campaign opposing Amendment 46, which raised Colorado’s minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $6.85, with built-in yearly increases for inflation. In all, the hotel, which is owned by the wealthy Gaylord family, contributed $100,000 in an unsuccessful effort to quash the measure.

The hotel is also well known as the last place where George W. Bush got drunk before becoming a teetotaler.

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Cara Degette

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