Governor Phil Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders in New Jersey say one of their priorities this fall is enacting legislation that would boost the state’s $8.60 an hour minimum wage to $15.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin says lawmakers are formulating a bill to do that but haven’t worked out all the specifics.
“We need to take a look at everything. There are differing views from all sorts of phases of the economy and segments of the population. We’re going to try to put together a bill that we know will pass.”
A $15 minimum was one of Governor Murphy’s campaign promises and he says it will get done.
“For the business community we got to be careful of the sticker shock. You can’t make that leap overnight. So this has to be phased in over a series of years.”
Murphy takes issue with opponents’ concerns that increasing the minimum wage would hurt businesses.
“Employees aren’t a cost item to be kept as low as possible. This is not goods or materials. They are what help businesses grow and succeed. And when employees earn a livable wage morale increases and turnover decreases.”
Murphy believes the minimum wage hike would pump billions of dollars into the state’s economy.