NJ Voters Will Decide Minimum Wage Increase

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. February 14, 2013

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New Jersey Assembly (photo by Phil Gregory)

By a vote of 46-to-31, the New Jersey Assembly has given final legislative approval to a measure allowing voters to decide at the polls in November whether to raise the minimum wage.

The constitutional amendment bypasses Governor Chris Christie who vetoed the Democrats’ bill to boost the base pay by a dollar.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick says changing the constitution to increase the minimum wage and allow for annual increases is a bad idea.

“Businesses are going to relocate in another state or if they thought about coming here they’re not going to be here or they’re not going to hire those high school kids over the summer.”

Stefanie Riehl with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association says a constitutional amendment would not allow the legislature to make quick adjustments to the minimum wage in an emergency.

“We have had several unfortunate emergency situations in our state like Superstorm Sandy. We know that some of our shore businesses are paying minimum wage right now for their seasonal workers, and this is going to be a very difficult pill for them to swallow.”

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver says boosting the minimum wage will not stop companies from hiring.

 “It has never contributed to unemployment. We know that the minimum wage does in fact improve the economic condition in whatever state it is elevated in and that’s going to happen in our state as well.”

Oliver says she doesn’t want to depend on the Republican controlled House to approve President Obama’s proposed nine dollar an hour minimum, and New Jersey needs to act now.


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