Regional
4:47 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Minimum Wage Hike Goes To Martinez, But She's Opposed

The New Mexico House of Representatives voted to pass SB 416, raising New Mexico’s minimum wage. Senate Bill 416, which will raise the New Mexico minimum wage from $7.50 to $8.50. SB 416, passed on a vote of 37 – 32, and is now on the way to Governor Martinez for her signature.

“Our workers deserve our full support. I am very pleased that the House of Representatives voted to stand with New Mexico workers because their hard work deserves fair pay,” said Senator Bill Soules (Dona Ana, District 37), co-sponsor of SB416. “This increase means a family living on the minimum wage will see 40 dollars extra a week, which can be used for food for their kids or paying basic utilities. Unfortunately, certain provisions to help workers were taken out – so there is still more work that needs to be done to ensure all working men and women of New Mexico will receive the raise.

“However, this is a great victory for the people of New Mexico and we all ask that Governor Martinez stand with New Mexico workers and signs our minimum wage increase bill.”

SB 416, the Minimum Wage Increase, would affect about 100,000 workers in New Mexico. This bill would not only help thousands of New Mexico families, but would also bring a much-needed boost to the New Mexico economy.

“This is certainly the right thing to do,” said the bill’s other co-sponsor Senator Richard Martinez (Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Santa Fe, District 5). “If the Governor truly wants to help people, this is her chance to do it. There are many poor people out there who will really be helped by this.”

Robust conversation throughout the bill’s hearings in recent months included testimony by economists who highlighted the raise’s positive impact on job growth and benefits to local businesses.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Michael Sanchez said, “Raising the minimum wage was high on Democrats list of priorities going into this session, and the vote taken in the House today proves that we are the people’s party and we will remain committed to the working families of New Mexico.”

The House approved the bill Friday on 37-32 vote, sending it back to the Senate.

The state minimum wage went to $7.50 an hour in 2009.

Supporters said the proposed increase would help workers and their families with rising costs of food and other essentials.

Opponents warned that the wage increase would hurt businesses and could cause them to reduce jobs.

Only three states — Washington, Oregon and Vermont — have minimum wages higher than $8.50 an hour.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

A Martinez spokesman says the governor opposes increasing the rate to $8.50 but would accept $7.80.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.