Posted at: 02/04/2013 3:53 PM
Updated at: 02/04/2013 3:54 PM
By: Barry Massey, The Associated Press
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Democratic lawmakers propose increasing New Mexico's minimum wage to $8.50 an hour and allowing voters to decide whether the wage rate should be increased annually for inflation.
House and Senate Democrats outlined their proposals on Monday.
The state's minimum wage went to $7.50 an hour in 2009.
A proposal by Sens. Richard Martinez and William Soules would increase the rate to $8.50 an hour. Only three states - Washington, Oregon and Vermont - have higher minimum wages.
A separate proposal by Rep. Miguel Garcia would require automatic cost-of-living increases in the wage rate. Garcia's proposal would be placed on the 2014 general election ballot if it's approved by the Legislature.
The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce opposes the wage proposals, saying businesses would cut jobs if higher pay was required.
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