Minimum wage raise to be voted on in BernCo
Posted at: 04/23/2013 5:46 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Minimum wage workers in Bernalillo County could soon be making more money.
Commissioners are meeting Tuesday evening to vote on whether the minimum wage should be raised a dollar, to $8.50 an hour, the same as Albuquerque's minimum wage rate.
Local restaurants and those in the service industry fear a higher county minimum wage the most. But it is such a heated issue, so controversial, few business owners are willing to publicly speak about it.
On the outskirts of city limits, there is a vineyard and a place where people go to enjoy beautiful scenery and taste local wines.
John Calvin has been running Casa Rondena since 1995.
When Calvin hears about minimum wage possibly increasing to $8.50, one thing comes to mind.
"The hospitality and service industry, where Casa Rondena is, will suffer a great deal," Calvin said. "They will actually not hire people that they otherwise would have hired."
Calvin pays his employees above minimum wage; that is his choice.
But he fears for other business owners in the county who do not have that luxury.
"When you have 50 or 60 employees in a restaurant business, and you have to face even a dollar an hour difference, it really goes to the bottom line," Calvin said.
A change could down to difficult decisions for those in charge.
"I think a person should be paid based upon their abilities and their impetuous and enthusiasm rather than have the nanny state telling the employer that they have to pay someone a certain amount whether they're worth it or not," Calvin said.
Popular restaurant owners, who would not speak on-camera, told KOB Eyewitness News 4 a dollar pay increase across the board could mean at least $100,000 more per year in payroll.
This could translate into layoffs or higher prices at favorite restaurants across town.