LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) — The minimum wage in New Mexico went up 50 cents to $12 an hour on New Year’s Day, thanks to a law passed by the New Mexico state Legislature a few years ago.
“Cost of living keeps going up. Prices keep going up. Inflation keeps going up,” said David Polka, whose parents live in Las Cruces.
In New Mexico, workers who receive tips now earn $3 an hour, but in Las Cruces that number is even higher at $4.78 cents due to a local ordinance.
“It is going to be helpful to our citizenry, and I’m really excited about that opportunity to have folks have what they need moving forward,” said Kasandra Gandara, a Las Cruces city councilor.
However, across state lines in Texas, minimum wage is still $7.25 an hour and has not gone up since 2009, according to Workforce Solutions Borderplex.
“We would anticipate that job seekers are going to drive a little further to get paid almost double what the minimum wage is here,” said Bianca Cervantes, communications director for Workforce Solutions Borderplex.
Meanwhile, the Department of Workforce Solutions in New Mexico is hoping the minimum wage increase in the state will help with the employee shortage.
“You know this from the help wanted signs. You know this from having to wait longer at a restaurant or not having your stores open the same number of hours they used to be. So that higher minimum wage should really draw workers here to the State of New Mexico and that’s really what we need right now for the economy,” said Sarita Nair, the Cabinet secretary for Department of Workforce Solutions New Mexico.
Nair added they have not yet started to hear from businesses since the start of the new year.
“We haven’t yet started hearing from any businesses but of course anytime there is an increase to those fixed costs, businesses are going to feel it and pass it on to the customers,” Nair said.
The owner of La Posta De Mesilla says his wages were already over the new minimum wage before the start of the new year.
“Wages increase just because of demand for employees, so I’ll tell you at this moment most folks in my industry, their minimum wage for low-entry employees is either at $12 or above already,” said Tom Hutchinson, the owner of La Posta De Mesilla.