By Joshua Chaisson – Santa Fe New Mexican – January 14, 2019.
Before new New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham even gave her inaugural address, Democrats in the state House prefiled two bills that would increase the state’s minimum wage.
While there will be much debate over which is the right hourly wage for the state — the current $7.50 rate, $12 or even $15 an hour — both bills include language that would cut pay and reduce opportunities for New Mexico’s tipped employees by eliminating the tip credit.
For those unfamiliar with the term, the tip credit allows employers to pay tipped employees a lower hourly base rate, as long as our total income (base plus tips) reaches the standard hourly minimum wage. If tips and the base tipped wage do not add up to the full minimum wage, employers are required to make up the rest. This guarantees that all workers make the minimum wage.
So why not pay all employees one minimum wage rate and be done with it? Because most servers and bartenders earn well over the minimum wage. Many of us see ourselves as professional, commission-based salespeople. A minimum wage without a tip credit would effectively turn career servers — the most experienced of whom can earn up to $24 an hour or more — into entry-level employees.