SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – One state lawmaker wants to raise New Mexico’s minimum wage to make it one of the highest in the country. Businesses say this is too ambitious especially in a pandemic, but the bill’s sponsor Rep. Roybal Caballero (D- Bernalillo) says no one should be working full time on minimum wage and still struggle to pay their bills. “If we raise it to $15 an hour, we institutionalize it, we structure it into our payment system, and then we’ll be lifting our families out of poverty, and we will create a huge advantage for our local economy,” said Rep. Roybal Caballero (D- Bernalillo).
Two years ago, lawmakers decided to do a phased-increase minimum wage in New Mexico, which bumped it up to $10.50 in January. By 2023 it would reach $12. In this proposal, House Bill 110 would ramp up that increase to $15 an hour by 2024. Analysts note it would be one of the highest minimum wages in the country if passed. The bill also adds that starting in 2025, the minimum wage would be adjusted upward every year based on the cost of living.
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However, House Bill 110 also calls for removing the tipped credit. Business owners say this is not a good proposal because tipped or commissioned employees are able to make well above the minimum wage on the tipped credit. “So what most restaurants are going to have to do is pay our servers an hourly wage, and raise our prices say 20% to cover that and it’s not going to be good for anybody. It’s certainly not going to be good for the tipped employees and it’s not going to be good for the customers who are not going to receive the same great service, because workers won’t have that incentive to provide that service,” said George Gundrey, Tomasita’s restaurant owner.
House Bill 110 is scheduled to be debated on its first House committee Tuesday afternoon. The bill would also let people under 18 who are not in school and people with disabilities earn the same minimum wage as others. The bill passed it’s first committee on a 5-3 vote.