Time For A Raise? Luján Cosponsors Minimum Wage Increase After Debate Falters In Santa Fe

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Luján Cosponsors Minimum Wage Increase After Debate Falters In Santa Fe

SANTA FE – Over the last few years there have been several attempts to raise the minimum wage in New Mexico above the current $7.50 per hour. In 2013 the Valley’s own Senator Richard Martinez (D-Rio Arriba) sponsored a minimum wage increase to $8.50 that successfully passed but was vetoed by Governor Susana Martinez.

This year Representative Lucky Varela (D-Santa Fe) introduced House Bill 20 which would have increased the state minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. In addition, Senator Clemente Sanchez (D-Cibola) also introduced legislation that would have increased the base wage to a more modest $8.30 per hour.

In total there were eight attempts during this year’s legislative session to raise the minimum wage but all of them failed to pass.

Despite these bills failing in Santa Fe the debate over increasing the minimum wage is far from dead. Thursday Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s 3rd District announced that he is cosponsoring legislation to raise the minimum wage.  The “Raise the Wage Act” would increase the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $12 by the year 2020.

“New Mexico’s workers want to receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.  They want to work hard so they can send their children to college and save for a dignified retirement,” Congressman Luján said.  “Yet at today’s minimum wage, many full-time workers and their families have to work two or three jobs just to get by.  Raising the minimum wage will reward hard work, grow opportunities and strengthen our economy.”

In addition to increasing the minimum wage, the federal legislation would also index it to the median wage in 2021 in order to make sure that the minimum wage keeps pace with the growth in wages.  It eliminates the tipped minimum wage gradually by raising it from $2.13 per hour to match the regular minimum wage.  Setting the minimum wage at $12 in 2020 would give almost 38 million American workers a raise.