Report: Indexing Minimum Wage Would Especially Help Hispanics, Women

Without indexing, $7.50/hour wage will be worth less than $6.50/hour in 2020

February 13, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALBUQUERQUE—As the Legislature considers a bill to index the minimum wage, a new report shows that full-time minimum wage earners have already lost $1,000 a year due to inflation since the wage was raised in 2009. Indexing the wage would make it rise in conjunction with the cost of living. Without indexing, the minimum wage loses its purchasing power, becoming less and less valuable over time. By 2020, the state’s $7.50 an hour minimum wage will have the buying power of less than $6.50.

“Most of the New Mexicans who earn the minimum wage are adults who are working more than part-time,” said Gerry Bradley, Research Director for New Mexico Voices for Children and the report’s author. “So the people who would be benefitting are the people who are paying the household bills and putting food on the table. Women and Hispanics would particularly benefit, as would New Mexicans who don’t have a college degree.”

Indexing the minimum wage would help reduce poverty in New Mexico, putting approximately $500 more a year in the pocket of each hard working New Mexican. Since low-wage workers tend to spend all of their income on day-to-day necessities, this additional money is likely to be spent in the local economy.

“If we don’t index the minimum wage, we’ll be at the same point in the near future that we were several years ago—needing to raise the minimum wage because it will be worth so much less. In the meantime, working New Mexico families suffer,” added Bradley.

The report is available online at: http://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/min-wage-indexing-2-10-12.pdf

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New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. 2340 Alamo SE, Suite 120, Albuquerque, NM 87106-3523; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org

Download this press release here (pdf)

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