New Mexicans are Worth More: Raising the State’s Minimum Wage

While a handful of New Mexico municipalities – including the cities of Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Santa Fe, and Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties – have raised their minimum wages in recent years, the state-wide minimum wage has not been raised since 2009. Still at $7.50 an hour, its purchasing power has eroded considerably over that timeframe. In fact, when you factor in inflation, that $7.50 buys only $6.30 worth of goods today.[iii] If the wage had been adjusted for inflation, it would now be $8.95 an hour. While New Mexico’s minimum wage has remained stagnant and lost purchasing power, 28 states, including Colorado and Arizona, have increased their state minimum wages.[iv] As these states have found, raising the minimum wage benefits thousands of working families and local economies.[v]

In order for children to have nourishing environments where they can thrive, families need to be economically secure so they have the ability to invest in their children’s futures. If the state passes legislation to increase the minimum wage incrementally until it is $12.00 an hour by 2022 – and protects workers by prohibiting training wages and allowing municipalities to enact even higher wages – nearly a quarter of a million workers will see their wages rise as $204.8 million a year is added to their paychecks. This achievable policy reform will vastly improve the state’s overall well-being and give families, children, older adults, people of color, and women more opportunities to thrive. Local economies will see benefits as well.