April 2, 2019

NM’s minimum wage will be $12 per hour (eventually)

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With a stroke of her pen, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham set into motion New Mexico’s first minimum wage increase in a decade.

Lujan Grisham signed SB 437 into law Monday afternoon, bumping the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 per hour to $9.00 per hour by the beginning of 2020.

Then by 2023 the rate will increase to $12 per hour.

“This session, the Legislature sent a clear signal: We will not tolerate poverty wages in New Mexico. And this administration is putting working families first,” Lujan Grisham said. “I commend lawmakers who did not allow perfect to be the enemy of good as we worked toward the finish line on this measure.”

She was referring  to a late-session difference between House and Senate versions of the legislation.

The original version passed by the House would have increased the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2021. But conservative legislators balked, and the two chambers eventually decided on a bill that  included a $12 per hour wage, but a year later than originally proposed.

“I’m glad for the families that need to put food on the table, clothe their children; this will help them,” sponsor Sen. Clemente Sanchez, D-Grants, said in a statement. “And the step-ups in coming years will help businesses in rural areas get ready for change. This legislation is a good example of compromise at work in Santa Fe.”

The increases take place each Jan. 1 as follows:

  • 2020: $9.00 per hour
  • 2021: $10.50 per hour
  • 2022: $11.50 per hour
  • 2023: $12.00 per hour

As part of the compromise, there will be a separate $8.50 minimum wage for high school students beginning in 2020 with no increases set for the future.

The bill would not affect municipalities or counties which have higher minimum wages. Santa Fe, for example, has a minimum wage of $11.80 per hour, which increases each year with inflation.