But with only 2 days left in session, bill could die in Senate
Workers who rely mostly on tips would see their minimum wage increase by more than $1 an hour under a bill approved Thursday by the New Mexico House of Representatives.
The measure moved ahead on a 34-31 vote. It next goes to the Senate, but with only two days left in the legislative session the bill may not be heard.
“I think it’s 50-50,” said the sponsor, Rep. Phillip Archuleta, right, D-Las Cruces.
His bill would increase the minimum wage of tipped workers from $2.13 to $3.25 an hour. It would apply to those making a minimum of $30 a week in tips.
Rep. Alonzo Baldonado, R-Los Lunas, argued against the wage increase, saying it would hurt independent restaurants. Their profit margins already are small, Baldonado said.
The state Economic Development Department opposed the bill on a similar basis. It said a higher minimum wage could increase costs to businesses and decrease employment levels.
Archuleta said those arguments were often made but were untrue.
“Every time there’s a wage increase we hear the owners are going to suffer, the (restaurant) associations are going to suffer. It never happens,” Archuleta said.
A separate bill to raise the state minimum wage for other workers from $7.50 to $8.50 an hour is scheduled for debate Friday in the House of Representatives. State senators approved that measure 25-17, but it has been amended in the House to reduce exemptions.
Albuquerque already has a minimum wage of $8.50 and Santa Fe’s minimum is $10.51.