Governor Susana Martinez vetoed a number of bills, including a bill that would have increased the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour. Martinez blamed Democrats for not compromising with a plan that she favored.
The governor had proposed a plan that would have raised the minimum wage just 30 cents to $7.80 from the current $7.50, but that was not backed by Democrats.
“I was clear with lawmakers that I support an increase in the minimum wage in New Mexico—one that would put us on a level playing field with neighboring states,” Martinez wrote in her veto statement. “In fact, I supported increasing the minimum wage to $7.80 per hour, which would have been tied for the highest wage rate in our region, identical to Arizona’s. It would have been four times the percentage increase in teacher salaries that was passed by the Legislature in the budget this year. This compromise had bipartisan support, but failed on a tie vote in the House.”
What Martinez does not mention is that the minimum wages in Colorado and Arizona are tied to “cost of living adjustments” that increase the minimum wage annually. A proposal to put this in the state constitution failed this in the committee process this year.
This would index the minimum wage to inflation.
New Mexico Telegram reached out to a spokesman for the governor to see if tying the minimum wage to a cost of living adjustment as is done in Arizona and Colorado is something the governor would support.
The veto comes on a Friday afternoon on a holiday weekend — a day that will likely have less media coverage than normal.