Guide to the Issues: Minimum Wage & Income Inequality

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   MinimumWageGuide to the Issues: Minimum Wage & Income Inequality

This report is part of our multi-part 2014 Citizen’s Guide to the Issues and ALEC in New Mexico.   Learn more about the report or jump to other sections with the links below.

Read the full guide with more issues here

Guide to the Issues: Status of Women in New Mexico
Guide to the Issues: Minimum Wage & Income Inequality
Guide to the Issues: Driver’s License Policy
Guide to the Issues: ALEC IN NEW MEXICO
Guide to the Issues: ALEC-member corporate lobbyists in New Mexico
Guide to the Issues: ALEC Dollars in the Roundhouse

Hard work deserves fair pay.

The hardest working New Mexicans have not seen an  increase in the minimum wage since 2009, even as the cost of gas, milk, and everything else has gone up. 92% of minimum wage earners are adults, increasing the minimum wage will help parents take better care of their families.Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 10.14.39 AM

  • 21 states have higher minimum wages than the federal government.
  • 5 states have the minimum wage in their constitutions, including CO & NV.

What is indexing?  Indexing ties the minimum wage to the cost of living so that wages maintain pace with the rising cost of goods.

  • By indexing the minimum wage – we protect its spending power – so as the cost of living grows, the minimum wage continues to command the same buying power that $7.50 had in 2009.
    • 10 states index their min. wage. to the CPI, including 3 of our neighbors (CO, AZ, NV)
  • New Mexico pays for-profit prisons a per-inmate fee, indexed to the cost of inflation – $200,000 alone in 2012
  • New Mexico’s legislators are paid an indexed per diem for their service


A statewide poll showed that 79% of New Mexicans support a minimum wage increase.

Raising New Mexico’s minimum wage will affect 137,260 workers in our state.

There are 95,724 children in New Mexico that depend on a parent who earns the minimum wage.

Raising the minimum wage helps the lowest-paid workers, many of whom are women and Hispanic.

Almost a quarter of our children would also be positively impacted. Raising and indexing the minimum wage would go a long way toward closing the state’s income inequality gap, as well as lifting numerous working poor families out of poverty.

New Mexico has the highest income inequality in the nation.Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 10.14.23 AM

• What is income inequality?  The difference in income between the rich and the poor.  In New Mexico, by 2010, New Mexico’s richest 20% of households made 9.9 times as much as the state’s poorest 20%.

• Since the late 1970’s, incomes for the poorest 20% of NM families rose just 13.0%. The middle 20% of families rose 25.8% while the richest 20% saw their incomes increase 73.8%.

Since Gov. Martinez took office in 2011, New Mexico’s middle class is quickly eroding.

In just the first two years of the Martinez administration the inequality gap widened even more:

  • The number of full-time workers making less than $15,000 increased by 3%
    • The number of workers making between $15k-$40K (37% of NM workers) fell 3%.
  • The number of full-time workers making more than $100,000 increased 20%

Our current policies are exacerbating our problem and creating more rich and poor residents, eroding New Mexico’s middle-class.

More Resources:
New Mexico Voices for Children
Organizers in the Land of Enchantment
CAFÉ, Comunidades en Accion y de Fe
Source: Fiscal Policy Report 2013, New Mexico’s Wage Race to the Bottom