SANTA FE ― The Senate Rules Committee voted a do-pass Saturday on Senate Joint Resolution 18 (SJR 18) that would let voters decide in the November general election whether to raise the statewide minimum wage.
SJR 18, sponsored by Sen. Bill Soules (D-37- Doña Ana), would base the wage increase on the annual rate of inflation and each increase could not exceed 4%. The minimum wage in New Mexico hasn’t changed since 2009 when it increased to $7.50 an hour, despite price increases across the board for housing, food and other essential items.
“Those who work for the minimum wage today are having a difficult time affording the core necessities of life,” Soules said. “This is a responsible proposal that reestablishes the floor for those who work for minimum wage. This not a living wage! This will help hardworking New Mexicans who need it the most while boosting the economy.
“Many comprehensive studies have shown that any extra money brought home by low-wage earners is immediately spent on life’s necessities and immediately pumps money back into circulation. When money moves, the economy improves. Six years is far too long to increase the minimum wage.”
“If passed by the Legislature and approved by the voters, this measure would restore the buying power that minimum-wage earners had when we last raised the rate six years ago. It would then maintain that buying power into the future.”
“I continue to support local government’s authority to establish their own minimum wage rate because we know that economic levels are not the same throughout the state.”
SJR now moves to the Senate Judiciary Committee and if approved there to the Senate Floor for a vote. The measure would then have to pass the House of Representatives before being presented to the voters to decide if it should be amended to the State Constitution.