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Mandatory Sick Leave Foes Raise $103K

Mandatory Sick Leave Foes Raise $103K

A coalition of 27 businesses and business organizations were formed to oppose the Healthy Workforce Ordinance.

A local PAC that opposes the proposed mandatory sick leave ordinance has raised $103,000 to oppose the measure.

City voters will decide on Oct. 3 on whether to support or reject the seven-page proposed law that would require all city businesses to offer paid sick leave to employees. That includes part-time, full-time and temporary employees.

Under the City of Albuquerque’s campaign finance laws, a measured finance committee is a political action committee (PAC), person or group that supports or opposes a candidate or ballot measure.

On June 21, a measured finance committee was registered with the city clerk’s called the “Albuquerque Coalition for a Healthy Economy”. On Aug. 9, the measured finance committee registration was amended and is now called the “Albuquerque Coalition for a Healthy Economy and Realtors Association of New Mexico”.

According to the registration filed the city office, the measured finance committee was formed to “educate public on paid sick leave ordinance”.

The chairperson of the measured finance committee is identified as Carol M. Wight and she is the CEO of the New Mexico Restaurant Association. The treasurer of the committee is Kent L. Cravens, a former Republican State Senator.

On July 14, the first campaign finance report for the Albuquerque Coalition for a Healthy Economy and Realtors Association of New Mexico was filed and $0 dollars were reported in contributions, $0 dollars in loans were reported, $0 dollars in expenditures were reported, and $0 dollars in “in-kind” donations were reported with $0 debt reported.

You can see the PAC’s campaign finance report here.

On Aug. 11, the campaign finance report for the Albuquerque Coalition for a Healthy Economy and Realtors Association of New Mexico was filed. The report reflects the following cash activity: $102,900 dollars were made in contributions, $0 dollars in loans were reported, $0 dollars in expenditures were reported, and $1,120 dollars in “in-kind” donations were reported with $0 debt reported.

Individual major cash contributors reported to the Albuquerque Coalition for a Healthy Economy and Realtors Association of New Mexico are as follows:

  1. Realtors Association of New Mexico: $50,000
  2. Real Estate Community PAC: $20,000
  3. New Mexico Restaurant Association: $10,000
  4. New Mexico Restaurant Association: $9,600
  5. ABC PAC: $2,500

Individual cash contributions of $1,000 include the following:

Ben Garner, French Mortuary, Jiffy Lube, O’Neill Consulting, NAI Maestas & Ward, Sun Vista General, Action Air Conditioning ($500), Scott’s Fencing, Southwest Water Conditioning, Crystal Springs, New Mexico Restaurant Association ($300), and Georgie Ortiz.

One in-kind donation of $1,120 was reported as made by Americans for Prosperity, NM, to the measured finance committee opposing the mandatory sick leave initiative.

ORGANIZED OPPOSITION

A coalition of 27 businesses and business organizations were formed last year to oppose the Healthy Workforce Ordinance in court. The business coalition includes:

  1. Apartment Association of New Mexico
  2. Associated Builders and Contractors
  3. Associated General Contractors New Mexico
  4. Albuquerque Economic Forum
  5. Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce
  6. American Subcontractors Association of New Mexico
  7. Commercial Association of Realtors New Mexico
  8. Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors
  9. Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce
  10. Home Builders of Central New Mexico
  11. National Association of Industrial and Office Parks
  12. New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry
  13. New Mexico Restaurant Association
  14. New Mexico Utility Contractors Association

WHERE THE CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR STAND

According to an Aug. 8 ABQ Free Press forum, the candidates for mayor who support the ordinance include Democrats Gus Pedrotty, Tim Keller and Brian Colón.

Independent Michelle Garcia Holmes opposes the ordinance, while Susan Wheeler-Deichsel said she supports it in spirit but that it needs to be rewritten.

Republicans Wayne Johnson, Dan Lewis and Ricardo Chaves and Dan Lewis declined to respond to the ABQ Free Press survey.

CONCLUSION

You can expect significantly more money being raised by the business coalition formed to oppose the ordinance if the New Mexico Supreme Court allows the ordinance to appear on the ballot.

Candidates for mayor need to articulate not only where they stand on the ordinance but also whether or not they’ll enforce it if elected.

A silver lining is that the ordinance may increase the 2017 municipal election voter turnout if it is in fact on the ballot. However, if it is on the ballot it will cut both ways.

Progressives Democrats and conservative Republicans may turn out in force to vote. The business coalition may be able to get more conservative business owners and Republicans to the polls, which will ultimately skew in Republican candidates favor.

The recent defeat of the Santa Fe “soda tax” shows how effective a well-funded opposition campaign can be in a municipal election.

Statistics show that more young people are leaving the city each passing year, seeking employment and upward mobility elsewhere, which means Albuquerque is getting older and more conservative.

Historically, municipal elections have a very low voter turnout and reliable voters tend to age 55 or older. Four years ago, Albuquerque had the lowest municipal voter turnout since 1977 with only 19 percent of eligible voters voting.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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