GOP’s new jobs plan for NM: I get a pay raise, you get a pay cut.

New Mexico has a jobs crisis and Republicans in charge in Santa Fe have a plan to fix it.  

In case you missed it, here’s what the governor’s administration and House Republicans rolled out this week in the legislature:

 

Part 1: “Lower wage costs 30% – This week, one of the craziest Republicans in Santa Fe offered up one of the dumbest bills to fix our jobs crisis.  Naturally, it was put on the fast track by GOP leaders. Rep. Nora Espinoza (R-Roswell) proposed HB200 which would repeal New Mexico’s prevailing wage laws, giving big construction contractors the freedom to pay construction workers much less and sidestep some processes that ensure public building projects are completed on time and on cost to taxpayers. Sidebar: What is Prevailing Wage?

Anti-Minimum Wage Ideologues Lose Another Battle in Las Cruces

 

In yet another example of how out-of-touch New Mexico conservatives are with prevailing views about economic fairness, anti-minimum wage ideologues in Las Cruces have failed (yet again) in their attempt to recall a city councilor. The Las-Cruces Sun News reports that the conservative PAC “New Mexicans for a Better Tomorrow” failed to gather enough signatures to recall City Councilor Olga Pedroza. This comes a week after the group also failed to gather enough signatures to recall City Councilor Gill Sorg. From the article:
The Las Cruces city clerk’s office announced Thursday that supporters of a recall attempt didn’t get enough valid signatures to trigger an election against City Councilor Olga Pedroza of District 3. …

#NMLEG Progressive Bill of the Day | 03-12-15

As the 2015 legislative session marches on, economic issues are playing a major role. The contrast between conservative and progressive principles regarding economic development can be seen in numerous bills. Progressives have introduced legislation to raise the minimum wage, increase job training programs, increase teacher salaries, increase tax credits for working families, cap predatory loan interest rates, and create more tax fairness throughout the state (among many others). (By the way, every one of those bills has met fierce resistance from conservatives in the legislature.)

Conservatives have focused (predictably) on bills that reflect their you’re-on-your-own economic ideology, leaving working families out to dry in favor of bolstering the profits of special interests and big out-of-state corporations. Reducing unemployment insurance benefits, resisting minimum wage increases, making it harder for disabled workers to receive compensation, anti-worker “right-to-work” bills, and reducing corporate income tax rates have all been conservative hallmarks during this session.

#NMLEG Progressive Bill of the Day | 03-03-15 (How is Economic Fairness Faring?)

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
How are economic fairness issues faring during the 2015 New Mexico legislative session? How are our state’s elected officials prioritizing the needs of New Mexico’s working families and the many individuals who struggle daily to “provide enough” for themselves and their dependents? Not surprisingly perhaps, conservative legislators have spent the 2015 session largely genuflecting to corporate interests while many progressive legislators are fighting to improve the working and living conditions of low-income and middle-class workers. Democrats in the House and Senate have been advocating for a slew of progressive economic/jobs bills, despite the uphill battle of having lost their majority in the House (and thus the likelihood that none of these bills will ever make it to the governor’s desk). Progressives in the House and Senate are championing bills to increase the Working Families Tax Credit, cap predatory lending interest rates at 36%, increase the statewide minimum wage, substantially increase teacher salaries, bring fairness to the tax code, and increase funds for job training (JTIP) through community colleges, among many others.

What Happened in Santa Fe Last Week?

Last week was another busy one in Santa Fe, especially on the education front. Most of the most controversial and divisive bills from the Governor/House Republicans have now made their way through the House. So look for most of the action to switch over to the Senate in the final three weeks (!) of the session. As always, ProgressNow NM was at the Roundhouse everyday last week standing up for progressive issues and providing some of the best legislative coverage around. Look below for a recap of the top stories that came out of Santa Fe last week.

#NMLEG Progressive Bill of the Day | 02-04-15

House Democrats today held a press conference highlighting their Economic Security Package — a group of bills that will spur economic growth and protect working families throughout the state. One of those bills, Democratic Minority Leader Brian Egolf’s “Small Business Development Fund Act” (HB 28), would create a $100 million Small Business Development Fund that would work with community banks on economic development projects throughout the state. Here’s a synopsis of HB 28 from the Legislative Finance Committee:
House Bill 28 is the Small Business Development Fund Act; it creates the Small Business Development Fund (Fund), a board of directors with staggered terms, and allows up to $100 million from the severance tax permanent fund to be invested in the Small Business Development Fund to participate in loans with community banks for economic development projects. Up to $5 million of that investment may be used to establish and operate the Fund. The remainder shall be used to fund the loan program as set forth by the act.

#NMLEG Progressive Bill of the Day | 01-28-15

Luciano “Lucky” Varela has introduced House Bill 20, a bill which would raise New Mexico’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Did you know that for every $1 increase in the minimum wage families with minimum wage workers increase their spending by more than $800 per quarter? [1] Did you know that states with higher minimum wages attract more workers and have improved labor quality? [2]

According to ThinkProgress, $10.10 is the number to hit. Since racial minorities are over-represented among the minimum wage workforce, raising the minimum wage to just $10.10 would lift 3.5 million people of color out of poverty.

What Should New Mexico’s Minimum Wage Be?

After Governor Martinez vetoed a minimum wage increase in 2013 and House Republicans came together in 2014 to oppose a Constitutional amendment to let voters approve a higher minimum wage, legislators have introduced two new minimum wage proposals for 2015. New Mexico’s minimum wage is currently just $7.50 an hour. Sen. Clemente Sanchez has proposes an $8.30 minimum wage, similar to a proposal Republicans used to undermine a larger Democratic-sponsored increase in 2013. Rep. “Lucky” Varela has proposed a $10.10 minimum wage that is tied to inflation so the minimum wage rises with the cost of living.  This proposal is similar to a national minimum wage hike championed by President Obama.

"Give America a Raise" Bus Tour Comes to ABQ TODAY

The Americans United for Change Bus Tour is coming to Albuquerque today and we’re getting fired up to go! AUFC launched their “Give America a Raise” bus tour at the US Capitol last week and this week its criss-crossing the west rallying support for Congress to support the president’s plan to raise the federal minimum wage.  
#tbt The ‘Give America a Raise’ Bus at the Capitol. Starting Monday, it’s going back out on the road! #RaiseTheWage pic.twitter.com/KTGjBJpVkc

— Americans United (@AU4Change) April 17, 2014

At its Albuquerque stop today at noon, local business leaders including Nancy Denker of Focus Ink, Juan Certain of The Brew and Villa Miriam specialty coffee  will join Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, AFSCME, OFA and ProgressNowNM to show that New Mexico is ready to give America a raise.