Despite even mainstream news organizations shining a light on the harmful ramifications of the newly increased $12 per hour minimum wage, Democrats in the state legislature are doubling down on their attempts to raise the wage even higher.
State Rep. Christine Chandler (D-Los Alamos), who chairs the New Mexico House Taxation and Revenue Committee, told the Santa Fe New Mexican that she is “introducing a bill to raise the minimum wage to $16 per hour by January 2024, which would be the highest statewide minimum wage in the country.”
The outlet further reported, “Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero, D-Albuquerque, also plans to introduce minimum or ‘living wage’ legislation raising it above $15 per hour.”
“Fifteen dollars might not be enough for a living wage,” she said. “Right now I’m leaning toward something higher than $15.”
Currently, the highest minimum wage in the country is in California at $15 per hour.
Mainstream TV station KOAT 7 admitted the extreme dangers of minimum wage increases this week in a report, writing that such policies will result in employers forced to “cut hours, automate tasks and demand more.”
The station interviewed an associate professor of finance at the University of New Mexico, Reilly White, who said, “As rates increase, that does help a lot of people employed at the minimum wage.” He added, “But, on the other side of it, it does interesting things, particularly to businesses.”
“White says it could also come at a cost to workers. He says some employers might reduce hours, demand more work out of their employees and automate some jobs like grocery store registers,” KOAT reported.
“It affects the types of people hired,” White said. “Another example is employers usually forgo hiring inexperienced workers like teenagers in favor of older, more experienced workers, making it harder for younger people to get a start in the market. So, it’s an interesting dynamic that affects a lot of different things across the workforce.”
“If we would have been $15 [in 2019] and indexing all along, we would be in the neighborhood of $16 now,” Chandler said. “It reflects the reality on the ground. It’s what workers need to earn a living wage. The past bill was a good bill, but it was a compromise that didn’t go far enough.”
The extreme increases in the minimum wage will certainly harm businesses and workers, but the Democrats are intent on pushing these wage hikes at the cost of the business owner and the taxpayer.