CMI staff writer
A proposed statewide minimum wage hike is making its way through the New Mexico Legislature this week, but some area business people are not convinced it is the best move for the local economy.
If approved before the legislature adjourns noon Thursday, Senate Joint Resolution 13 would let voters decide in November’s general election whether to raise New Mexico’s minimum wage to about $8.30 an hour next year.
The joint resolution would also automatically increase the wage rate each year for inflation. The state’s minimum wage has been $7.50 an hour since 2009.
“I think by and large most of our businesses are not in favor of a minimum wage increase,” said Portales Chamber of Commerce Director Karl Terry, “especially not as much as what they proposed.”
Terry said he believes businesses are also not in favor of seeing a state minimum wage that does not line up with the federal minimum wage.
“That becomes very problematic when we have different states that have different minimum wages, and even different communities now,” he said.
Coli Hunt, owner of Joe’s Boot Shop, said a consequence of a higher minimum wage would likely be higher prices for the consumer.
“It kind of falls back to the consumer because if our expenses goes up,” he said, “in turn we have to have price increases.”
Coli said his only means of surviving as a retailer will be to follow suit if the minimum wage increase goes through.
“I don’t see the overall benefit for everybody,” he said. “I understand things cost more and you have to make more to keep everything going.”
The proposed constitutional amendment was approved by a 24-17 vote in the Senate, and passed the House Voters and Elections Committee Tuesday on a party-line 6-4 vote, with Republicans in opposition and Democrats in support.
The resolution will now move to the House for consideration.
— The Associated Press
contributed to this story.