ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Let the battle really begin.
Opponents of Albuquerque's proposed minimum-wage hike unveiled their new attack ad while two city councilors also claim a hike would hurt city government.
Conservative City Councilors Dan Lewis and Trudy Jones say if voters pass the minimum wage hike in November it will mean fewer city jobs and reduced city services. Backers of the proposal say this is more propaganda.
The attack ads will start airing Saturday with slogans like: "The minimum wage increase creates serious problems for Albuquerque's struggling economy" and "The increase sounds good until you dig deeper."
Councilors Lewis and Jones agree. Stating the increase is a job killer while adding city tax revenues are already down.
"We're looking at possibly a $10 million shortfall, and you can see how adding another $1 million a year because of something like that would put us in a real crisis mode," Lewis said.
Lewis, the chair of the city's budget committee, gives the example of the West Mesa Aquatic Center. He says if they're forced to increase the minimum wage for teens who work as lifeguards and greeters, then they'd have to raise pay for everyone there to keep the pay scale fair.
He said it's a move the city can't afford.
But inside the New Mexico Tea Company , proponents don't see it that way saying the more money in workers' pockets, the more they'll spend.
"I support raising the minimum wage because I think it will lead to a stronger economy," said company owner David Edwards. "A stronger economy helps small business."
Edwards explained studies show people on the lower end of the wage scale tend to spend what they earn, which he believes creates more jobs.
"The more money that we're able to bring in through revenue, the more people we can hire, which then boosts the economy."
Backers of the wage hike also said when adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage hasn't been this low in 40 years. They also say unemployment is lower in Santa Fe, which already has a much higher minimum wage than Albuquerque.
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