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NJ Senate Passes Minumum Wage Hike Bill

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. November 29, 2012

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New Jersey State Senate (photo by Phil Gregory)

The state Senate has passed a bill to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage to $8.50 and provide for automatic annual increases based on the consumer price index.

Senator Jen Beck is one of the Republicans who voted against the measure. She says businesses are trying to recover from Hurricane Sandy, and it’s the wrong time to raise the minimum wage.

 “There is no way at this moment in time we’re doing the right thing by raising costs on these folks who’ve lost everything.”

Democratic Senator Jim Whelan says the state’s lowest wage earners need an increase.

 “Let’s raise the minimum wage so those hardest hit by the hurricane, those hardest suffering from this fragile economy, will see a path upward.”

Republican Senator Joe Pennacchio argued against automatic yearly increases.

“We could do it as we see fit to do it and that’s a much better way of doing it because we can take in public sentiment and public testimony to see whether or not it is or isn’t the right thing to do.”

Democrats are anticipating a veto by Governor Christie. The Senate also passed a measure that would bypass the governor by putting the minimum wage increase on the ballot for voters to decide.

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