We applaud the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors for opposing state-lawmaker efforts to hike the minimum wage.
By a vote of 8-5, with four abstentions, the board last week sent a strong message that government should not be in the business of telling private business owners what to pay their employees.
The arguments opposing government-mandated minimum wage standards have been expressed in this space repeatedly — they prevent students and other unskilled workers from gaining the experience they need to find higher-paying jobs; and they force business owners to raise their prices in order to offset increased labor costs.
Gov. Bill Richardson and many New Mexico Democrats have brushed off a common sense whereby labor demands help business people to set wages in order to hire people. Instead, they promote the false ideal that a “high-wage economy” will be born if New Mexico’s minimum wage rises from the federally mandated $5.15 an hour to $7.50 or more.
That’s like running as hard and fast as you can at the start of a marathon — things will look great at first, but you’ll drop in the dirt from exhaustion 25 miles from the finish line, unable to keep pace with those who will actually finish the race.
Some have said privately they’re concerned the Chamber’s pronouncement will have a negative effect on the region’s ability to secure state funds in future sessions of the New Mexico Legislature. We disagree. After all, this region has soundly rejected other Democratic initiatives, namely in the education arena, in recent years and still partnered with the Richardson administration on many fronts.
Politicians do sometimes hold a grudge, but we’re confident our governor and Democratic leaders will not try to punish anyone for expressing opinions based on what they believe to be common sense.