New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Monday rejected a bill to raise the state's minimum wage by more than $1, setting up a confrontation that could lead to Democrats taking the measure to voters in November.
In issuing a conditional veto of the Democratic-sponsored measure, Christie countered with his own proposal to phase in the increase from $7.25 per hour to $8.50 over three years, according to the Newark Star-Ledger
. But his counter offer did not include an annual automatic cost-of-living adjustment tied to inflation, a provision that was included in the Democratic bill.
"The sudden, significant minimum wage increase in this bill, coupled with automatic raises each year tied to the Unites States Consumer Price Index, will jeopardize the economic recovery we all seek," Christie said in a message to the Democrat-controlled legislature Monday.
Democratic leaders denounced Christie's counter offer, saying they would ask voters to change the state's constitution in order to raise the minimum wage. Such a move would bypass Christie, who would have no authority to stop it if voters gave the increase a green light.
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