State Democrats Propose Raise in Minimum Wage
Lawmakers in both the state Senate and House introduced a number of bills last week that, if passed, would raise New Mexico's minimum wage, currently $7.50 an hour. House Bill 67, introduced by Rep. Miguel P. Garcia (D-Bernalillo), wants to increase the wage rate to $8.40 per hour, starting Jan. 1, 2018, then to $9.20 per hour in 2019 and to $10.10 per hour in 2020. The bill also calls for a cost of living increase of the previous year's minimum wage rate and would raise wages for tipped employees from $2.13 per hour to 40 percent of the rate for non-tipped employees. Senate Bill 36, introduced by Sen. William P. Soules (D-Doña Ana), proposes increasing the rate to $8.45 per hour, beginning July 1, 2017, with an annual cost of living increase on Jan. 1 every year after. Small business owners—employing 10 employees or less—will be able to continue paying $7.50 per hour adjusted annually on Jan. 1 of each following year if accompanied by a cost of living increase. For employers with 10 or more employees, a training exception could be applied, which would allow the employer to pay trainees $7.50 per hour during their first 6 months on the job. SB 36 would also increase the minimum wage for tipped employees to $2.65 per hour with annual adjustments. House Bill 27, introduced by Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (D-Bernalillo), would raise the minimum wage rate to $15 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2018. The rate would then increase each year, in accordance with the cost of living. Under this bill, tipped employees who regularly receive more than $30 per month in tips would have the same rate as non-tipped employees. Many major cities in N.M.—including Albuquerque—already have minimum wage rates that are higher than the state's.