Raise also needed to counteract NM’s income inequality, high poverty rate

February 14, 2013

CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-244-9505 

ALBUQUERQUE—An increase in the statewide minimum wage—from $7.50 to $8.50 an hour—would put $105 million in new wages into the hands of low-wage workers, who would spend the vast majority of it here in the state. That new spending would increase the state’s gross domestic product by $67 million and create 590 new jobs.

That’s the conclusion of a report by New Mexico Voices for Children that was released today at a minimum wage rally in Santa Fe. The report also advocates for indexing the state minimum wage so that it automatically increases with inflation.

“Raising and indexing the minimum wage would do a couple of things. First, it would help alleviate our high rate of poverty. Second, it would give the state a much-needed economic boost,” said Gerry Bradley, research director for NM Voices and report author. “Since 70 percent of our economy is based on consumer spending, one of the fastest ways to invigorate it is to put more money into the hands of the people most likely to spend it—those who are earning the lowest wages,” he added.

Bradley added that indexing the wage is an important step because it ensures that the wage doesn’t lose its purchasing power over time. “Just since New Mexico raised the minimum wage last—in 2009—it’s lost 10 percent of its value. That’s a loss of more than $1,000 a year for a full-time worker earning the minimum wage of $7.50 an hour. That’s $1,000 less to spend on groceries, diapers, rent, utilities, and other necessities,” he said. “And it will continue to lose value until we raise it again if it’s not indexed,” he added.

The full report is available online here: https://www.nmvoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/state-min-wage-2013.pdf


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. Our fiscal policy work is funded by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project.
625 Sliver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102; 505-244-9505 (p); www.nmvoices.org