Restaurants warn of menu hikes, layoffs ahead of minimum wage increase

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DENVER -- Colorado is raising its minimum wage again in 2018 to $10.20 an hour.

The increase is part of a constitutional requirement voters approved in 2016. It will be $12 an hour by 2020.

"I'll definitely start putting money into savings, like I said i haven't been able to do that with the money that I make," Valeria Marquez, an Aurora mom who will experience a 90-cent wage hike on Jan. 1.

Marquez is an employee with Starbucks and said the increase is welcomed because the cost of living is increasing so much.

But not everyone is pleased with the hike.

"I think we are going to see more and more restaurants use technology because it cuts down on costs -- your computer is not going to call in sick," said Sonia Riggs, president of the Colorado Restaurant Association.

Riggs said most restaurants don't make much profit, and another sharp increase is resulting in potential menu increases and staff cuts.

"I think customers are going to see a combination of things, from increased prices to reduction in staff," Riggs said.

Critics argue Colorado experienced a wage increase in 2017 and it does not to appear to have impacted the state's growth.

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