Governor Martinez And The Minimum Wage

Governor Susana Martinez understands that New Mexico must be competitive with our neighboring states in order to grow jobs.  Consistent with that principle, she supports raising the minimum wage, so long as it is in line with neighboring states, and does not hurt small businesses and kill jobs.

In 2013, Governor Martinez supported raising the minimum wage to $7.80 per hour, which would have been the highest in the region. ‎ However, she joined small businesses in opposing a bill that would have made New Mexico’s minimum wage the fourth highest in the entire country.

This year, Governor Martinez supported a bi-partisan compromise to raise the minimum wage to $8 per hour, which again would have been tops in the region.  Unfortunately, partisans in the legislature rejected the compromise and instead chose to play politics by unsuccessfully trying to raise the minimum wage through a constitutional amendment.

Governor Martinez Has Supported Raising The Minimum Wage As Long As It’s Competitive With Neighboring States. “Martinez Has Expressed Support For An Increase To At Least $7.80 And Potentially $8 An Hour.” (Barry Massey, “Democrats Assail Governor Martinez In Candidate Forum,” The Associated Press, 5/3/14)

During This Year’s Legislative Session, Governor Martinez Supported Raising The Minimum Wage To $8 An Hour, Which Would Have Made New Mexico’s Minimum Wage One Of The Highest In The Region. “Gov. Susana Martinez said she would have supported a bill to increase the minimum wage to $8 an hour.” (James Monteleone, “Gov. Says She Would Have Supported $8 Minimum Wage,” Albuquerque Journal, 2/23/14)

But Time And Again Democrats Rejected Governor Martinez’s Compromise And Instead Chose To Play Politics With The Issue In The Last Two Legislative Sessions. “The Governor’s Stated Support For An $8 Minimum Wage Was An Update Of Her View From Last Session, Where She Vetoed An $8.50 Minimum Wage Bill, Saying She Would Go No Higher Than $7.80, Which At The Time Equaled The Highest Minimum Wage Available In Neighboring States, The Governor Said.  But This Year, After Colorado Raised Its Minimum Wage To $8 An Hour, Martinez Said She Changed Her Assessment.  Democrats This Year Tried To Go Around Her With The Constitutional Amendment Proposal That Would Go Before Voters In November.”(James Monteleone, “Gov. Says She Would Have Supported $8 Minimum Wage,” Albuquerque Journal, 2/23/14)

In 2014, Instead Of Compromising With Governor Martinez To Raise The Minimum Wage, Democrats Tried To Pass A Constitutional Amendment, Which Was A Ploy To Increase Democratic Turnout.  The Amendment Failed. “‘We could have a bill at $8 an hour (tied to the Consumer Price Index), heading to the governor and I suspect that most of my Republican colleagues would support it,’ said Rep. Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque.  ‘This is about politics, this is about increasing (Democratic) November turnout because we don’t have that bill before us.’” (Rob Nikolewski, “Minimum Wage Resolution Falls Short In NM Legislature UPDATE: Jeff Says She DID Speak To Biden,” NM Watchdog, 2/19/14)

Democratic Representative Sandra Jeff Blasted Her Colleagues For Putting Politics Ahead Of Raising The Minimum Wage. “‘I Support Raising The Minimum Wage And I Have Voted Do So In The Past, But Believe It Should Be Done In A Bill, Not As A Constitutional Amendment.  Gov. Martinez Expressed A Willingness To Support A Minimum Wage Increase Compromise And I Wish We Would Have Taken Advantage Of That Opportunity Instead Of Letting Partisan Politics Overtake The Issue.’” (Rob Nikolewski, “Minimum Wage Resolution Falls Short In NM Legislature UPDATE: Jeff Says She DID Speak To Biden,” NM Watchdog, 2/19/14)

Last Year, Governor Martinez Vetoed A Minimum Wage Increase That Would Have Brought The New Mexico’s Minimum Wage To $8.50, Considerably Higher Than Neighboring States. “‘I Was Clear With Lawmakers That I Support An Increase In The Minimum Wage In New Mexico – One That Would Put Us On A Level Playing Field With Neighboring States,’ Martinez Wrote In Her Veto Statement.  ‘In Fact, I Supported Increasing The Minimum Wage To $7.80 Per Hour, Which Would Have Been Tied For The Highest Wage Rate In Our Region, Identical To Arizona’s.  It Would Have Been Four Times The Percentage Increase In Teacher Salaries That Was Passed By The Legislature In The Budget This Year.  This Compromise Had Bipartisan Support, But Failed On A Tie Vote In The House.’” (Matthew Reichbach, “Gov Vetoes Minimum Wage Increase,” New Mexico Telegram, 3/29/13)

Governor Martinez Is Not Willing To Damage New Mexico’s Economic Competitiveness By Increasing The Minimum Wage To A Rate Well Above That Of Neighboring States. “‘In Order For New Mexico To Thrive Economically, We Must Be Competitive With Our Surrounding States In Terms Of Our Tax Code, Regulatory Environment And The Minimum Wage,’ Martinez Said In Her Veto Message.’” (Milan Simonich, “No Raise In Minimum Wage,” Capitol Report, 3/29/13)

A High State Minimum Wage, Relative To Its Neighbors, Hurts A State’s Economy By Making It Less Competitive With Neighboring States. “State-Imposed Minimum Wages That Are Higher Than The Federal Minimum Place Workers And Businesses In Those States At A Competitive Disadvantage.  If Other Factors Are Equal, Labor-Intensive Industries Will Tend To Shift Their Investment To States That Don’t Impose Those Extra Cost Burdens.  Thus, States With Relatively High State Minimum Wages May Have Lower Job Growth And Lower Economic Growth Than Would Otherwise Be The Case.  Also, Workers Whose Employment Prospects Are Impinged By High State Minimum Wages Have An Increased Incentive To Migrate To Other States To Find Jobs.” (Mark Wilson, “The Negative Effects Of Minimum Wage Laws,” Cato Institute, 6/21/12)

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Says A Large Minimum Wage Increase Would Cost Thousands Of Jobs. “Once Fully Implemented In The Second Half Of 2016, The $10.10 Option Would Reduce Total Employment By About 500,000 Workers, Or 0.3 Percent, CBO Projects.” (“The Effects Of A Minimum-Wage Increase On Employment And Family Income,” CBO, 2/7/14)