Late on Good Friday, as people were getting ready for Easter weekend, Gov. Susan Martinez vetoed Senate Bill 416 which would have raised the wage of thousands of New Mexico’s low-wage workers from $7.50 to $8.50.
It is appalling that Gov. Martinez would choose to play politics with people’s lives at a time when New Mexico has the highest percentage of low-income working families in the nation and is ranked No. 1 in income inequality in the country.
The bill’s modest increase, which the Gov. first labeled a “gimmick,” would have been a common-sense way forward to improve our communities and our state economy. It is also what the majority of New Mexicans want. Just last year, Albuquerque passed an overwhelmingly popular measure by a 2-to-1 margin to raise the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour.
Every week we talk to thousands of people whose low-wage work barely affords them the ability to pay their bills. Gov. Martinez was elected to listen to these people – her constituents – and to lead the state economy forward. On Friday, she failed.