Restaurant Owner Urges Minimum Wage Increase

Feb 12, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A Santa Fe restaurant owner is urging New Mexico lawmakers to increase the state's minimum wage.

Restaurateur Julia Castro said yesterday at a Capitol news conference that the employees at her Santa Fe cafe are paid above the city's minimum wage, which is higher than the state's $7.50 hourly wage rate.

Castro said well-paid employees are critical to providing quality service to her customers.

University of New Mexico student Israel Chavez joined Castro in supporting a minimum wage increase. He works as a restaurant server in Albuquerque.

A proposal pending in a Senate committee would boost New Mexico's minimum wage to an estimated $8.30 an hour next year and provide for annual inflation increases.

Business groups have opposed the measure, saying it would hurt smaller businesses, especially in rural areas.