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Federal Minimum Wage Goes Up, but Lags Albuquerque

Today, for the first time in a decade, the United States federal government has raised the nation’s minimum wage, up 70 cents to $5.85 an hour. Next summer the national minimum wage will again be raised by 70 cents to $6.55 and again in 2009, when the current legislation’s increases will top out at $7.25 per hour.

However, the City of Albuquerque’s own minimum wage will stay one step ahead of each raise due to legislation sponsored by Albuquerque City Councilor Martin Heinrich and approved by the Albuquerque City Council on April 20th, 2006. Ordinance 06-20, the Albuquerque Minimum Wage Ordinance, requires the City of Albuquerque to enforce a minimum wage of $6.75 per hour beginning on January 1, 2007, followed by a raise to $7.15 after one year and finally to $7.50 on January 1, 2009. An employer who pays at least $2,500 annually for an employee's health-care or child-care benefits receives a $1.00 per hour reduction in the minimum wage requirement.

“It makes me proud that Albuquerque is still a leader when it comes to valuing hard working people. I hope future councils will continue that leadership and ensure that everyone in Albuquerque who works and plays by the rules receives a fair wage,” said Martin Heinrich, sponsor of the Albuquerque Ordinance.

At the time of the Albuquerque Minimum Wage Ordinance’s passage last year, only three other cities in the United States had adopted wage ordinances affecting private business: Santa Fe, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Other cities in recent years have adopted ordinances affecting only businesses with government contracts (i.e. The City of Los Angeles, CA) and others have adopted minimum wages above that of the state or federal minimum, only to see their respective states raise their overall wages to that city’s level or above.