Española, NM, border economics and Santa Fe County’s minimum wage

Border regions are fascinating because they often highlight more clearly the impact of good and bad public policies. After all, often, border areas have similar population and geographical characteristics, thus clarifying for the public that economic policies are the ultimate arbiter of economic success (or failure). Nowhere is this more stark than the Korean border where the socialist North is completely dark at night and the capitalist South is bright and active:

Rio Grande Foundation also did some in-depth analysis of border economics a few years ago, but today I’m writing about Española which happens to be partially located in Santa Fe County (which recently raised its minimum wage to $10.66 an hour from just $7.50). Now, according to the Rio Grande Sun, two fast food restaurants in the Santa Fe County portion of town have closed.

Now, as reported in the article there are additional restaurants looking to open (or re-open) in Española, but it would seem likely that these restaurants and other businesses are going to do their best (within the scope of traffic and land-use patterns) to locate themselves outside of Santa Fe County.

HT: Samuel Z. LeDoux

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8 Replies to “Española, NM, border economics and Santa Fe County’s minimum wage”

  1. Both the restaurants mentioned were located very close to one another. There are 5 other restaurants at the nearby intersection (Riverside Dr & Santa Cruz Rd aka NM 76): McDonalds, Burger King, El Parasol, El Paragua, Shanghai, and El Rodeo (El Rodeo is about a block north, but still in SF County). It will be interesting to see how these businesses respond.

    1. That is good to know. Who’d think that Rio Arriba would be a bastion of economic freedom in New Mexico?

    2. I think you have the county line in the wrong area. I live off McCurdy road, north of La Joya Street, I live in Santa Fe County. I have not looked at a county map, but I thought Lots Burger and Long Johns were both in Santa Fe county. Aren’t they the restaurants mentioned in this article?

  2. I am sure if you read the Santa Fe County ordinance regarding the minimum wage increase, you will find affected areas: “For businesses located throughout Santa Fe County, OUTSIDE OF the incorporated boundaries of the City of Santa Fe, City of Española and the Town of Edgewood.” This means that the min. wage increase does NOT apply to Espanola’s businesses. Also, El Paragua is in Santa Fe County.

  3. The Santa Fe County minimum wage ordinance does NOT affect businesses inside of Espanola city limits. Why are businesses closing up and avoiding Santa Fe County? Do they not know how to read the ordinance? Do they expect the ordinance to change?

    1. Matthew, the minimum wage increase does apply to areas outside of the city limits of Española that are in Santa Fe County. Businesses do come and go, but the question is whether businesses will shift away from Santa Fe County. I don’t know all the ins and outs of what is happening in the area on a daily basis, but my belief is that businesses will slowly migrate out of the County. If that is inaccurate, I’d be interested to hear what is happening.

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