“Way” back in 2019 when the New Mexico and national economies were booming and COVID 19 wasn’t even on the radar, Democrats in the Legislature and Gov. Lujan Grisham passed legislation (SB 437) to increase New Mexico’s minimum wage. In March of 2019 the unemployment rate was just 5.0%.
At those low unemployment rates which basically represented full employment, raising the minimum wage MAY not be very harmful. But, when unemployment rates are at elevated levels (as of August New Mexico’s rate was 11.3%) and small businesses are struggling to stay afloat, raising the minimum wage is an especially bad idea.
As the chart below (from NCSL) shows, New Mexico is at $9.00/hour right now. The rate will rise to $10.50 in January and to $11.50 by 2022. Unless New Mexico’s economy experiences a quick turnaround by January this well-intentioned policy will only further negatively impact small businesses throughout our State.