New Jersey Republicans are opposing a measure that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $8.25 per hour, saying the raise would harm businesses.
Republican lawmakers and business lobbyists said the mandatory raise, which would include annual adjustments tied to inflation, could make employers cut jobs, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer
"Increasing the minimum wage means nothing to the person who gets laid off," said Republican State Sen. Anthony Bucco.
But Democratic State Sen. Stephen Sweeney said he would continue his push for a constitutional amendment to increase the hourly wage and include a provision on inflationary adjustments.
Sweeney said regretted his decision in 2005 not to tie adjustments to a bill that set the hourly wage at $7.15. If the adjustments had been included then, he said the state's minimum wage now would be $9.20 per hour instead of the current $7.25, the lowest allowed by the federal government.
On Monday, Sweeney’s measure to put the amendment ballot question before voters moved from a Senate committee on a 7-6 vote, with five Republicans and one Democrat voting against it.
Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver has her own measure, however, that would raise the hourly wage to a minimum of $8.50, but would not include an adjustment for inflation.
According to the Inquirer, Republican Gov. Chris Christie is more likely to sign a higher wage bill it does not include automatic increases.
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