By an almost 2-1 margin, Albuquerque voters overwhelmingly approved a measure on the city ballot Tuesday that will raise the minimum wage from $7.50 per hour to $8.50 per hour effective January 1. The unofficial vote was 138,000 to 70,699. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. The measure also will require the minimum wage to be adjusted annually to reflect increases (but not decreases) in inflation. Santa Fe now has the highest minimum wage in the nation–$10.29–and it is also indexed to inflation.
The New Mexico Business Weekly recently cited a study by The Rio Grande Foundation that estimated the passage of the minimum wage measure will cost the city of Albuquerque 1,300 jobs because businesses will likely lay minimum wage workers off rather than incur the additional cost of keeping them on the payroll. The measure will more severely affect those with low work skills, such as students. New Mexico Employment Law Letter will keep you apprised of further developments.