Will New Mexico raise the minimum wage?
SANTA FE, N.M. — Raising New Mexico’s minimum wage is the goal of multiple elected officials, including the state’s federal delegation.
“To create economic stability and a bright future for children, we need to uphold the dignity of workers,” Sen. Martin Heinrich said. “That’s their family leave, that’s affordable health care and affordable child care – that begins with raising our state’s minimum wage.”
Heinrich is calling for state lawmakers to raise the minimum wage, but a bill to do that was shot down Tuesday. House Bill 28 was tabled in committee.
“I was demoralized because we had a really unique piece of legislation,” said Democratic Rep. Miguel Garcia, who sponsored HB 28.
Garcia’s bill didn’t actually put a number on what the minimum wage should be. Instead, it was fully tied to inflation – a new approach that actually got some new supporters, but not enough votes overall.
State Rep. Christine Chandler has co-authored another piece of legislation that would raise the minimum wage, House Bill 25, but in a different way.
“The current structure of the bill would raise the current $12 an hour to $13.50 in next year, and then the following year, raise it to $15.50,” Chandler said. “Then the following year, that would be 2026, we would add an inflationary factor so that it would stay at $15.50, but then adding every year and additional inflationary component to the minimum wage.”
HB 25 has received some backlash from the business community, saying raising the minimum wage that much would hurt small businesses. Chandler sees it differently.
“Businesses like certainty, and adding an inflationary factor helps them plan because, you know what the previous year’s inflation has been in, so you can adjust if you have to rely on the Legislature to convene every few years to change the minimum wage for those kinds of adjustments,” Chandler said. “You have no idea what wage you might be paying in five years from now.”
Chandler is doing what she can to make sure HB 25 reached the House floor.
“I’m willing to negotiate, I want to work with the business community, just as I hope they would like to work with me,” she said.
Chandler’s bill will have to pass the same committee that tabled HB 28, but she told KOB 4 she has been working to get the votes she needs.