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Las Cruces elected officials rally for wage hike

Proponents and activists gathered in Las Cruces today to rally fora hike in minimum wages.

It’s been almost four years since New Mexico has seen a raise in their minimum wage.

Back in 2009 the minimum was raised to $7.50 an hour.

Las Cruces elected officials are saying a dollar raise to $8.50 an hour, could boost the economy by 67-million dollars.

“Everyone standing here supports a raise in minimum wage,” said Las Cruces Mayor pro tem Sharon Thomas. Thomasreceived shouts and claps of approval from members of the community.

State Sen. Bill Soules stands by Thomas, telling ABC-7 New Mexico’s minimum wage isn’t cutting it it for many Las Crucans.

“In Las Cruces and around new mexico we’ve got about 50 percentof families are living below poverty, our children are living below poverty” said Soules.

Other with cities in the state like Santa Fe boast a minimum wage of a little over $10 an hour, Soule doesn’t want the rest of the state to get left behind.

“More than a third of New Mexicans already live in a minimum wage that is greater than$8.50 an hour,” said Soules.

Politicians and small business owners held signs reading, “Workers are the heart of New Mexico.

“Their parents are trying to work and make a real living and our working hard but they are working on minimum wage and if we want to improve the economy, ifwe want to improve the state we’ve got to raise the bottom,” said Soules.

Some business groups are against the proposal saying the wage hike could cause job losses.

Graciela Leyva, owner of Las Cruces’ Welcome Inn Cafe, doesn’t agree and says history has shown the more money, the more business.

She says when people receive their taxes and when the get paid, they have more customers.

Leyva tells ABC-7 she doesn’t agree with others when they say if wages go up they would have to cut back on employees.

“The same people are going to have more money to spend,I can pay a dollar more to my employees,” said Leyva.

The proposal also requests the minimum wage raise to go up as the cost of living goes up.

If the proposal goes through legislation, it could be seen on the November 2014 ballot.

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