LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Starting January 1, New Mexico's minimum wage increased to $9. Previously, it had been $7.50. It's the first statewide increase to the minimum wage since 2009.
The rate will rise in each of the next three years: to $10.50 beginning Jan. 1, 2021; $11.50 in 2022; and $12 in 2023. Tipped workers will ultimately reach $3 an hour in 2023.
The minimum wage was already higher in Las Cruces, at $10.10 an hour. It is now increasing to $10.25.
For Las Cruces barista Briana Borunda, earning a living wage is necessary.
"It's me and my daughter," Borunda said. "So this allows me to cover all our basic needs and our wants as well."
Borunda makes more than the minimum wage already at Beck's Roasting House & Creamery. She says little increases to a wage can make a big difference.
"Even if you save like a quarter, some pennies towards the end of the year, you're going to have a lot more money," she said.
Owners at Beck's Roasting House & Creamery say they make providing a living wage a priority.
"Our employees, some of them have children, families. We take that very seriously,” said Ariana Parsons, Co-Owner of Beck’s Roasting House & Creamery. “Sometimes it's scary. If you have an off month, then employees absolutely have to get paid before you get paid.”
Jaime Salazar manages La Nueva Casita Cafe next door. He says wage increases can hurt a small business.
“We have to watch everything. We work day-to-day, just like these employees that are a minimum wage,” Salazar said.
He says the cost of a wage increase are often pushed to a customer.
“We have to pass it on in order for us to make any money,” he said.
Parsons agrees that small businesses can hurt the most.
“It really comes out of your bottom line very directly,” she said. “So that's whether or not the business owner can afford childcare for their own children or groceries.”
Still, for some workers, every penny counts.
“Even if it’s just a few, couple cents here and there, that eventually adds up,” Borunda said.
Cents that can seem like small change to some, but are a lifeline for others.