SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) — Democrat lawmakers are pushing for a big minimum wage hike. They are looking to raise New Mexico’s minimum wage from $12.00 to $15.50.
House Bill 25 is now making its way through the Roundhouse; Democrat Representative and co-sponsor of the bill Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos) said it’s time to ensure New Mexicans can afford to live here.
“The stories that we hear are people have to do two jobs, they’re working well beyond 40 hours a week just to make it, and actually, all the economic analysis of the state shows that a living wage in the state is over 16 dollars an hour for just one individual,” Chandler said.
The $3.50 wage hike would be phased in over two years, then adjusted for inflation every year after that. The bill also provides a provision for tipped workers and adjusting their wages every year for inflation as well.
Representative Chandler said they initially wanted to raise the minimum wage to $16 dollars.
“In all public policy, there’s a balancing. The businesses are concerned that if the jump is too big too early, they won’t be able to absorb it. So, this is a compromise intended to allow them to adjust,” Chandler said.
The bill passed through the House Labor, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on a six to four vote.
Republican Representative Luis Terrazas (R-Santa Clara) was one of the lawmakers to vote against this measure and took a moment to explain why.
“As much as I want to see our New Mexicans prosper, I still am very troubled with our small businesses and how they are struggling to maintain where they’re at right now coming out of COVID.”
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Terrazas also cited concerns about how this could affect people on fixed incomes and chile farmers. However, Representative Chandler tells News 13 there is an exemption in the new bill for agricultural workers.
After Thursday’s vote, the bill heads to the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee.