SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Most people would jump for joy if they got a $50,000 raise. That’s what New Mexico judges could be seeing this year.
A state senator thinks New Mexico judges are vastly underpaid and he wants to take care of that in one fell swoop. “New Mexico consistently has study after study placing ourselves consistently at the lowest level of all judicial compensation in the country,” said Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces.
Senate Bill 280 was just introduced a couple of days ago. It would tie New Mexico Supreme Court salaries to what the feds pay District Court judges which is $210,000 right now. That would then be a $52,000 pay hike for New Mexico Supreme Court Justices.
Since the pay for judges throughout the state is based on a formula where every level of judgeship makes 95% of what the judges above them make, there would be $50,000 to $60,000 raises for judges at the lower court levels.
At District Court in Albuquerque, judges would see a $57,000 raise, bringing their salaries up to $190,000. Metro Court would see $54,000 pay hikes bringing them into the $180,000.
Senator Cervantes thinks those raises would cost the state upwards of $5 million a year. The idea’s in a committee Thursday but hasn’t been voted on.
There’s also a bill to create more judgeships in some of the busier parts of the state.