Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed proposals to raise the state’s minimum wage in the past, but elected officials have joined together to seek a $15 minimum wage. On Nov. 20, Gov.-elect Phil Murphy, U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker-elect Craig Coughlin joined with labor unions at the New Jersey State House to push for the wage hike.
While a specific plan has not yet been proposed, one option could be an annual raise of $1.15 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15. The state’s base wage is currently $8.44 and will rise to $8.60 in January 2018.
“Increasing the minimum wage rate to $15 an hour under the misguided principle of reducing poverty rates and bolstering the economy is deceitful,” NFIB/NJ State Director Laurie Ehlbeck said in a statement. “The minimum wage was never intended to feed entire families or act as an engine to drive the economy. It was designed as a training wage for lower skilled, less experienced workers. Increasing the minimum wage will maximize the damage done to the very people proponents of this measure claim to desire to help.
“Unfortunately, the new administration has not sought the council of the small business community when determining policy. If they had, they would know that increasing the minimum wage rate this drastically will decimate small employers by forcing them to compensate for the increase in labor costs. The reality is that by demanding that they pay their entry-level employees at such a high rate, small business owners will be forced to cut minimum wage jobs and raise prices on their goods.”
New Jersey’s elected officials plan to brainstorm the proposal over the next few months, and NFIB/NJ will be ready to oppose any efforts to set wage mandates.