New Mexico governor signs bill to increase minimum wage

New Mexico

The battle to raise the state’s minimum wage is over. The governor signed the bill to increase it over time.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s bill signing was met with applause and a sigh of relief from those who have fought for it for years.

“You know I think it’s real important for working families to make a type of living where they can support their families,” said Sen. Clemente Sanchez, (D) Grants.

Starting in January 2020, workers will get a $1.50 bump in pay. The year after that, workers will make $10.50. Then the year after that, $11.50 and finally by 2023, $12.00 per hour.

As for tipped workers, like in restaurants, their pay goes up to $3.00 an hour.

“This is an economic driver, aside from quality of life driver,” said Rep. Miguel Garcia, (D) Albuquerque.

Others argue this increase might not be a win for all. New Mexicans worry that family-run and small businesses, especially in rural parts, will be hurt.

“But it is going to be a struggle for the next few years, it will be a struggle,” said Gerald Martinez, owner of the Stop and Eat.

Martinez said they’re not worried about the phased-in increases, but worry upping the minimum wage might make other businesses, well, go out of business.

“My advice to them is you’re going to have to increase your prices, they will go up, and hopefully you don’t go up too much to where it affects you the other way and it does put you out of business,” said Martinez.

The governor, meanwhile, remains optimistic.

“New Mexico has established a fair, meaningful, minimum wage,” she said.

Some cities, like Albuquerque and Santa Fe, will not be affected because they already enacted their own minimum wage increases, which are higher. The governor said the phased-in increase will help give businesses time to adjust.

KRQE News 13 is told this will affect more than 100,000 New Mexicans who currently work for minimum wage.

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