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Minimum wage on the rise in Las Cruces

By Patrick Hayes
LAS CRUICES, N.M. -- The Las Cruces City Council is looking at ways to increase the minimum wage.

As of right now the city does not have a minimum wage ordinance, but cities like Albuquerque and Santa Fe do.

"The business community is not opposed to minimum wage increase, nor am I," council member Miguel Silva.

He said, "Our intent is to propose something and bring forth something that's reasonable for this area and something that the local economy can bear."

New Mexico Comunidades en Accion y de Fe or CAFe tells KFOX14 they want the minimum wage to be increased to $10.10 an hour by 2017. 

Silva said that number is not realistic. 

His ordinance suggests raising the minimum wage from $7.50 to $8.50 over the next two years. He said a living wage calculator shows that people must earn $8.12 an hour to support themselves. 

According to the calculator, an adult with one child must make $16.92 an hour to be self-sufficient.

Silva's proposal will be brought to the council's attention in about three weeks during the regular meeting. 

CAFe will attempt to get enough signatures that it could bypass the City Council let Las Cruces residents vote on the $10.10 an hour wage.

"I think it could be raised.  Not substantially," said Madeline Williams, a manager at a locally owned coffee shop.  "They were talking about $11 for awhile.  I think if it was raised that much, we'd probably go out of business."

Jerry Nachison is a volunteer community leader with CAFe.  He said, "we've been working on this for months now.  We have our language and it has gone to the city attorney."

CAFe will be outside City Hall on Friday, May 16, around 11 a.m. passing out information about the voter initiative.

If their paperwork gets approved, voters may get to decide whether or not the city adopts the $10.10 minimum wage.  

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