Why business works in Las Cruces

Aug 4th, 2014

A change in balance can lead to job loss in the area

By Bill Allen

Minimum wage Chamber President/CEO Balance – business works in Las Cruces because there is a nice balance.

There is a balance between big busi­nesses and small businesses.

There is New Mexico State University, which just announced it is moving forward with a new medical school, and a number of locally owned businesses that have been here for a long time, some for multiple gen­erations.

There is White Sands Missile Range – that big unknown on the other side of the mountain. There is tourism, which should be on the rise when Virgin Galactic begins flying.

City councillors who voted for a reason­able minimum wage should be congratu­lated for their efforts to find a rate that
takes all parts of Las Cruces into account.

It was not easy, but they struck a balance with their decision.

But that balance is being threatened when political outsiders try to force a radi­cal minimum wage increase on the commu­nity. Las Cruces isn’t Seattle, nor Santa Fe.

What are they really trying to accom­plish? We all know things can be tough for both people and businesses. We all know people who would like a little more in their paycheck, but an unreasonable minimum wage increase means work force reductions, business closings and rising prices.

The Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce is in favor of a reasonable wage like the one in place now and it hopes everyone takes time to really understand what’s going on and what stands in the bal­ance. Take time and remove emotion from the discussion.

On a national scale, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a study Feb. 18 and estimated if the minimum wage hit $10.10 per hour in 2016, 500,000 people would lose their jobs. Compare that figure to the same study that estimated that if the minimum wage hit $9 per hour in 2016, 100,000 people would be out of work as a consequence.

In either case, a large number of hard­working people in this country would be out of a job and looking for work in order to support themselves and perhaps their families.

Assuming an apples-to-apples compari­son nationally to locally, would Las Crucens want to upset the balance currently held with an already agreed upon increase in minimum wage and deal with the possibility of five times as many residents out of work?

Let’s keep our balance – let’s be reasonable.