Proposal Lets Voters Decide Minimum Wage Increase

Lawmakers are considering a proposal to allow voters to decide whether New Mexico's minimum wage should be increased annually for inflation.

The House Labor and Human Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing Tuesday on the proposed constitutional amendment. The measure is sponsored by the committee's chairman, Democratic Rep. Miguel Garcia of Albuquerque.

The state's minimum wage went to $7.50 an hour in 2009. Garcia's proposal would require automatic cost-of-living increases in the wage rate.

The New Mexico Business Coalition, an Albuquerque-based nonprofit group, is opposing the measure.

The proposal would be placed on the 2014 general election ballot if it's approved by the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Lawmakers can bypass Republican Gov. Susana Martinez with the measure because a proposed constitutional amendment doesn't require the signature of the governor.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.