Albuquerque voters to decide minimum wage proposal

October 24, 2012 • State News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A proposal appearing on the November ballot aims [auth] to raise the minimum wage in Albuquerque by a dollar and establish automatic increases in the future to keep up with inflation.

The Albuquerque Journal reports ( that the measure would raise the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour.

Supporters say the proposal would boost economic activity by putting more money in the hands of low-income workers, provide extra income to people in need and return profits to workers rather than sending money to out-of-state corporations.

Opponents say the proposal would hurt businesses, make Albuquerque less competitive by discouraging companies from expanding or relocating to the city and result in higher prices, job losses and reduced hours for employees.

The minimum wage proposal was brought forth through a rarely used provision in the city charter for voter initiatives. Supporters gathered thousands of petition signatures this summer to force the city to hold an election on the issue.

The City Council refused to act on the proposal, and after much legal wrangling, the state Supreme Court ordered it onto the ballot. The legal fight may not be over.

The petitions circulated by supporters and the language that appears on the ballot contain faulty wording that makes it appear as if certain employers would pay themselves, rather than their employees, the minimum wage.

Supporters and opponents have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their message out.

In filings to the city clerk, the Committee to Keep Albuquerque Working reported more than $179,000 in contributions, about $171,000 of which came from the New Mexico Restaurant Association.

On the other side, a committee called Raise the Wage reported about $115,000 in contributions. The Ole Education Fund, a group that pushed to get the proposal on the ballot, contributed more than $69,000. Union groups chipped in with $33,000.

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