Governor-elect Phil Murphy says legislation to phase-in a $15 minimum wage in New Jersey will be a high priority when he takes office in January.
Murphy joined legislative leaders and labor officials at a Statehouse event where some workers said it's tough to get by on less than $15 an hour.
Sayerville resident Anthony Banos says he works at a warehousing distribution center and has a part-time job at a retail store.
“Working two jobs shouldn’t be an obligation. It should be a choice. I find it difficult to get by paycheck to paycheck. I would like to help my family and support a family in the future, and having the minimum wage where it is right not isn’t helping me at all.”
Ella Moton says she's worked as an assistant in a nursing home in Jersey City for 15 years and makes $11.59 an hour.
"I can't afford chicken. So I buy beans and rice instead. I don't have the money to go the laundromat. There be times I have to hand-wash my clothes. Sometimes it hurts so much I just cry because I don't know how to make ends meet."
Murphy said details still need to be worked out, but the current $8.44 an hour minimum could be boosted to $15 over three to four years.
"Doing it over a period of years is responsible. We appreciate the fact you can't get from here to there overnight. It's too much sticker shock."
Senate President Steve Sweeney says he looks forward to working with Murphy on the legislation.
"We will have a conversation with him on how we move forward. But at least we know we're moving forward instead of meeting a veto pen."
Governor Christie previously vetoed a measure to gradually raise the base pay to $15 by 2021.