The Las Cruces City Council has voted to delay steps two and three of a three-step plan to implement a higher minimum wage. A more reasonable timeline has been established for the second and third increases, hopefully allowing business owners to have more time to plan and budget for the end result increase.
Per Monday’s vote, the first increase to $8.40 will take effect January first as previously approved.
However, an increase to $9.20 is being delayed to January 2017 instead of January 2016. And an increase to $10.10 would take place in January 2019 instead of January 2017.
New Mexico’s statewide minimum wage is $7.50.
Be Reasonable About Minimum Wage Increase
Letter to the editor from NMRA to the Las Cruces SunNews 5/30/14
Recently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted a staggering loss of jobs–500,000 jobs– if the federal wage was to increase to $10.10. Las Cruces is in the midst of discussing and deciding on a similar starting wage for individuals in the work force.
Having decided that the free market does not work to their satisfaction, some labor unions disguised as church groups, called CAFÉ, are pushing for a 35% increase to the base wage and a 274% wage increase for tipped employees. That would cost a small, local restaurant upwards of $100,000 a year in increased payroll. In reality, a small, local restaurant does not make $100,000 per year. The restaurant would need to increase prices, lay-off employees, reduce hours, or be forced to do all three to afford such an increase.
How will this affect you? Many retirees, on fixed incomes, move to Las Cruces because it is affordable. Higher Wages = Higher Prices. Can you afford a 35% increase in groceries and other services? Think about that when contemplating the minimum wage increase to $10.10.
These union groups and their supporters will tell you that a person cannot live on $7.50 an hour. That is true. However, the minimum wage is meant to be the beginning wage an employer pays an inexperienced person, usually a teen, so they can get a start in the workforce or for a person brand new to a job so they can learn the job. The minimum wage is not a wage on which to raise a family. Think about your own work experience. Isn’t it true that you started at minimum wage and then advanced from there? What was the minimum wage when you began work? Is that what you are making now?
According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, most businesses in Las Cruces are already paying well above minimum wage for experienced people. Recently my daughter got a retail job in Las Cruces starting at $12.00 an hour. The free market (competition controlling costs of goods, services, and wages) system works.
I am not advising that we never increase the minimum wage. I know the political reality. It is “Feel Good” legislation that gets votes and, in the case of the ballot initiative, it gets out the vote. I am asking that the City Council support a reasonable wage increase. No reasonable person would find a 274% increase reasonable.
Keep in mind that the Santa Fe County Commission recently (last week) had to repeal the server wage portion of their hastily approved wage ordinance because union representatives from, Working America misled them.
There is a point at which it is cheaper to buy and use technology rather than pay a person to do the job. Just ask any of the other industries where the unions have increased wages beyond their value and therefore mechanized whole industries. In areas of the country where the minimum wage is already high, the restaurant industry is using electronic pads at the table, allowing customers to submit and pay for their own orders– making tipped employees obsolete.
What is in store for Las Cruces? The City Council should choose a reasonable increase to the minimum wage, therefore making the union supported ballot initiative unnecessary. The union-supported ballot proposed minimum wage is $10.10. Decision-makers need to take into account the minimum wage in El Paso, Texas is $7.25. Which city will have a better chance at attracting new business in the region?
The minimum wage issue is not just about the worker. We must consider the big picture, and realize the affect increases have on citizens, business owners, customers, economic development and job creation as a whole. I urge you to contact your Las Cruces City Councilor and ask them to be reasonable when considering a minimum wage increase.