ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A referendum aimed at increasing the minimum wage in Albuquerque may not make in on the city's ballot because of an unexpected roadblock — a typo.
City officials say the proposal is misworded and written in a way that requires employers, like restaurant owners, to pay themselves more and not their employees more. And since more than 12,000 people signed the petition as written, restaurant owners promise a legal fight if the proposal is approved.
"The measure would also require that starting in 2013, employers of tipped employees like waitresses and waiters be paid at least 45 percent of the minimum wage in cash wages from their employers," the referendum reads.
Still, the Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/TnojGe) that city officials are in disagreement over what action is needed to place the item on the Nov. 6 ballot. The intended proposal would increase the minimum wage for most employees from $7.50 to $8.50 an hour. It also would change the law for employees who receive tips.
"If it goes on the ballot and passes, then the people, the restaurant owners, are probably going to file a lawsuit against the city, based on the language that was put on the ballot," said Councilor Ken Sanchez, a co-sponsor of the petition, told KOB-TV.
Rebecca Glenn, a spokeswoman for the group pushing the proposal, said state allows typos to be fixed on proposed ordinances.
However, Sanchez said it may be shelved because of too many legal barriers.
City councilors also are considering allowing the typo version of the proposal along with a corrected one to appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
It appears action of some sort must be taken under state law, which says a governing body must first adopt an election resolution.