Minimum Wage Through NM Constitutional Ammendment — Very Bad Idea
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EDITOR: Mr. Crawford is back with his common sense and intelligence.  Perhaps he can hand-off some of both to the legislature (to those lacking both). The work below is Mr Crawford’s and it is very much appreciated.

Following are comments on SJR13 made to the NM Senate Rules Committee for hearing on 2-3-14.   SJR13 can be found here.
Later Jim

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: Oppose SJR 13 Annually Increasing Minimum Wage
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 2014 15:11:58 -0700
From: James Crawford <jamesr.crawford61@gmail.com>
To: Linda Lopez <linda.lopez@nmlegis.gov>, Daniel Ivey-Soto <daniel.ivey-soto@nmlegis.gov>, Jacob Candelaria <jacob.candelaria@nmlegis.gov>, Stuart Ingle <stuart.ingle@nmlegis.gov>, Mark Moores <mark.moores@nmlegis.gov>, Gerald Ortiz y Pino <jortizyp@msn.com>, Cliff Pirtle <cliff.pirtle@nmlegis.gov>, Sander Rue <sander.rue@nmlegis.gov>, Clemente Sanchez <clemente.sanchez@nmlegis.gov>, Michael Sanchez <senatormichaelsanchez@gmail.com>

I am opposed to SJR 13 to annually increase the state minimum wage based on CPI indexes and to make increases retroactive back to 2009.

First of all, I oppose this  session’s wild flurry of constitutional amendments to enact legislation that should be the responsibility of the legislature and governor and are not structural problems with the NM constitution.  The constitution provides overall guidance and it should be very difficult to amend and only rarely happen.

The proposal is to amend Article XX which has nothing to do with wages and does not mention anything about minimum wage.  Minimum wage determinations should be the business of the legislature and governor and not a constitutional issue.  The legislature sets the minimum wage which is not specified in the constitution.  With the retroactive payment and any future increases businesses will be forced out of business and/or reduce hiring.

If the CPI declines, the minimum wage will not decline accordingly.   If the movement of CPI is a legitimate index for the minimum wage it should track down as well as up.  In other words this bill is just a way to blindly raise the minimum wage level every year no matter what happens to the cost of living.

Minimum wage and automatic increases end up hurting the very employees the bill claims to help.  A tiny portion of the work force works for minimum wage and they quickly advance if they are competent.  Workers are paid based on their productivity.  Badly needed entry jobs for young people and unskilled people will dry up.  Wage increases for other workers will be under pressure to increase causing more business and job losses.  There will be no net increase in spending power since the extra wages have to come from somewhere and will result in higher prices overall and wage earners purchasing power will remain relatively the same.

This is a bad idea in any form and is a travesty as a constitutional amendment.  All aspects of minimum wage legislation should remain with the legislature and governor and not be locked into the constitution.

Thank you,
James Crawford

Thanks to Jim Crawford and others of like mind, we might  head this off at the stupid gate!

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