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Legislature needs to get serious about minimum wage

March 15, 2017

Albuquerque Journal

Eric Griego

March 15, 2017-

With less than a week left in the 2017 legislative session, it looks like New Mexico’s working families may again be left to fight for crumbs. Despite the introduction of two living wage bills that would raise the minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour or more, New Mexico’s poorest workers will likely have to settle for much less. More troubling, a deal for a slight increase in the minimum wage may come at the expense of local governments being prohibited from increasing working conditions at the local level in the future.

A 2014 poll commissioned by the Albuquerque Journal showed 68 percent of New Mexicans support a minimum wage increase, with 36 percent supporting an increase to $10/hour or more. Two current bills would do just that: HB 27 sponsored by Rep. Patricia Roybal-Caballero, D-Albuquerque, would raise it to $15/hour; and another, HB 67 sponsored by Rep. Miguel Garcia, D-Albuquerque, would raise it to $10.10. Both bills would index the wage for inflation, providing yearly increases to reflect the cost of living. Unfortunately, it looks like neither of these two bills will even be heard.

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