Carol Wight of the New Mexico Restaurant Association cites census data that says the average hourly wage for a tipped restaurant employee is $13.08, with top earners at $24 an hour or more. Higher prices and/or less service will make dining out unaffordable or unattractive, creating a vicious cycle in which sales decline, so prices go up and jobs are cut, so sales decline, etc.
Fortunately, there is a more reasonable proposal pending in the Senate. SB 437, sponsored by Sen. Clemente Sanchez, D-Grants, would increase the state minimum to $9.25 this year and $10 next year – a 33 percent increase. It would bump the minimum for tipped employees from the current $2.13 an hour to $3 next year.
Read the full story at the Albuquerque Journal.