According to city legal staff, repealing or amending the new minimum wage hike could be done with a simple majority of city councilors and the mayor's approval. Effectively, six people could undo the pay raise.Two out of three Albuquerque voters—more than 139,000 of them—want to increase the minimum wage, giving 40,000 Albuquerque workers a raise. Six city councilors could undo it. It's mind-boggling.
Council President Trudy Jones, Councilor Dan Lewis and Mayor Richard J. Berry were all on the record before Tuesday's vote as being opposed to a minimum-wage hike. With five city councilors considered friendly to the mayor and a sixth likely to be appointed once current councilor Debbie O'Malley moves over to her newly elected post on the Bernalillo County Commission, the votes may be there for a repeal.
In phone interviews with KRQE News 13, Jones and Lewis said they are looking at the option of repealing the new wage hike through council action but did not commit to moving ahead with that idea.
To be fair, this isn't without precedent in Albuquerque. In 2005, voters narrowly rejected a minimum wage measure, and six months later, the city council, led by now-Sen. Martin Heinrich, increased the minimum wage. The initial vote, though, was held in October in a low-turnout local election, with just 60 percent as many people voting on the measure overall as voted to raise the minimum wage this year. There were fewer than one-third as many votes against the increase in 2005 than there were for it in 2012. A lot more people spoke this year, and much more strongly.