Santa Fe County sets new minimum wage

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SANTA FE — The Santa Fe County Commission has approved a new minimum-wage rate for the unincorporated parts of the county, matching the city of Santa Fe's mandatory minimum rate, which recently rose to $10.66 an hour — among the highest in the country.

SANTA FE — The Santa Fe County Commission has approved a new minimum-wage rate for the unincorporated parts of the county, matching the city of Santa Fe's mandatory minimum rate, which recently rose to $10.66 an hour — among the highest in the country.

The commission had been considering a proposal for a $10.50-per-hour minimum wage, but it amended the measure to match the city rate, along with the city's annual increases based on a federal consumer price index for urban workers in the Western states.

The county minimum wage goes into effect in just under two months.

Commissioners said the new minimum wage isn't really a "living wage" as Santa Fe officials like to refer to their rate.

"It should be much higher," said Commissioner Liz Stefanics, a sponsor of the ordinance.

Commissioner Miguel Chavez, the other sponsor, said he realizes that businesses are having a hard time. "I just hope they can work through it," he said.

Commissioner Robert Anaya proposed splitting the county in half, with an $11-per-hour minimum wage in the north half, including the county territory from roughly Cerrillos north and including the environs of Santa Fe, and $9 in the south. The commission voted down the proposal.

Some businesses have opposed the local minimum wage — the state requirement is $7.50 an hour — but there was no public comment at last week's meeting, after two prior public hearings.