Living Wage Lives and Lets Live

Santa Fe has had a living wage since 2004. It's actually the highest minimum-wage requirement of its kind in the country. The law raised the city's ...
by | August 14, 2006

Santa Fe has had a living wage since 2004. It's actually the highest minimum-wage requirement of its kind in the country.

The law raised the city's minimum wage from the federal level of $5.15 an hour to $8.50 an hour, a 65 percent increase. Earlier this year, the amount was bumped to $9.50 an hour.

An interesting new study on the wage, released by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of New Mexico, looks at the effects of the wage. The verdict: There really aren't any effects.  At least not financial ones.

According to the study, the wage requirment hasn't hurt Santa Fe businesses at all. But it hasn't spurred the economy, either.

As the Santa Fe Living Wage Network's Carol Oppenheimer told the Albuquerque Journal , "This program was never passed as an economic stimulus package. ... It was passed in the context of a moral framework that said no one should have to work on the lower wages."

Judging the moral impact on Santa Fe is a little tricky. But economically at least, the living wage hasn't hurt or helped.

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