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Business Groups Oppose Minimum Wage Amendment

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. June 26, 2013

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Business groups voice concerns about minimum wage amendment at Statehouse news conference (photo by Phil Gregory)

A constitutional amendment on the November ballot will allow New Jersey voters to decide whether to raise the state’s minimum wage.

Business groups say the amendment to boost the wage by a dollar and provide annual increases based on inflation will have some unintended consequences.

Laurie Ehlbeck is the state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. She says the measure could end up hurting the people it’s intended to help.

 “It’ll make the lowest wage people extinct. People are going to spend that much money to hire someone, they might as might as well hire someone that might be a little bit more skilled to fill the same position, someone that could do different things within their company.”

Jim Blake is the Chief Financial Officer of the Morey Organization which operates three amusement piers in Wildwood. He says the yearly increases would be troublesome.

 “It takes away any opportunity for a business to plan and be able to absorb those kind of costs. So how do we handle that? One of the ways is to cut our hours, cut our services, cut the amount of hours that employees would work, or just don’t hire those employees on an annual basis.”

New Jersey Farm Bureau President Ryck Suydam says the additional wage costs may cause farmers to hire fewer workers and could force them to charge more for their crops.

 “When you have to compete with Delaware and New York and Pennsylvania which all have great products and New Jersey products start going up in price, we’re going to lose our competitive edge.”

If the amendment is approved, business groups say higher payroll costs could result in the loss of 31-thousand jobs in the next 10 years.

 Supporters of the wage increase say there’s no evidence it would reduce jobs or slow economic growth.

NPR

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