I’m writing in response to Sam Bregman’s recent op-ed on the minimum wage. First of all, it’s important to know that as the party boss of the New Mexico Democratic Party, Bregman’s job is to smear Republicans at all costs – even if it means grossly distorting the truth and omitting crucial facts.
In fact, readers should be aware that Bregman was recently repudiated by the legislative leadership of his own party for recklessly attacking an esteemed state senator with whom he disagreed.
In response to Bregman’s column, the truth is, minimum wage workers in New Mexico would be bringing home larger paychecks today, but some Democratic legislators chose to play political games instead of helping the very people they claim to support.
Last year, Gov. Susana Martinez and Republican lawmakers supported a compromise that would have made New Mexico’s minimum wage competitive with surrounding states – raising it to $7.80 per hour. But Democrats in Santa Fe refused to meet Republicans in the middle, and as a result they refused to raise the minimum wage by a single penny.
Quite frankly, this is the same kind of “my way or the highway” attitude that has brought our government to a grinding halt in Washington, D.C.
As a pro-business lawmaker, I support policies that encourage employers to hire more workers – not force them to cut hours or staff.
The last time the minimum wage was increased, New Mexico’s child care centers took a devastating hit. In one rural community alone, four of the centers closed their doors because they simply could not afford to stay open.
As a result, New Mexicans lost their jobs, and parents lost their child care.
That is why we must be smart about raising the minimum wage. In order to grow New Mexico’s economy and create jobs, we must be able to compete with surrounding states, like Texas and Arizona. This includes a competitive tax code, regulatory environment and the minimum wage.
Unfortunately, liberal Democratic lawmakers are not willing to compromise and are putting politics before governing yet again this year.
During this 30-day legislative session, they are proposing a constitutional amendment that would force the state to raise the minimum wage. That is not an adequate or appropriate use of the New Mexico Constitution, and it would be highly irresponsible for lawmakers to move forward with this proposal.
If Democrats in Santa Fe want to raise minimum wage, Republicans are willing to work with them – so long as we do it in a way that is competitive with surrounding states.
Last year’s compromise would have done exactly that. But liberals were more interested in political games than working for the people of New Mexico.
In closing, Bregman would rather point fingers than take responsibility for his party’s failure to raise the minimum wage.
For that very reason, readers should take his word with a grain of salt.