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Minimum Wage Hike Approved by Voters in NJ

Wednesday, 06 Nov 2013 12:02 PM

By Lisa Barron

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New Jersey voters Tuesday raised the federally-mandated minimum wage of $7.25 by a dollar and marked the occasion by amending the constitution to ensure that automatic increases are tied to inflation.

With acceptance of the amendment by voters, New Jersey became the fifth state in the country to add a minimum wage to its constitution — following in the footsteps of Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and Ohio —and the 11th to implement automatic cost-of-living hikes, according to the Washington Post.

That is not what the Garden State’s newly-reelected governor wanted. Earlier this year, Republican Chris Christie vetoed a bill to raise the minimum wage to $8.50 with automatic hikes, arguing that it was bad for the economy.

He countered with an offer to raise the minimum wage to $8.25 over three years and increase the earned income tax credit. But the Democratic-controlled state legislature rejected that proposal and voted to put a constitutional amendment raising it to $8.25 an hour on the ballot.

A ballot measure to raise the minimum wage was also approved by Election Day voters in the tiny city of SeaTac, Wash., home to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Voters in SeaTac, with a population of 27,000, approved Proposition 1, which raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour for-travel related industries in the airport and in the city, reports MSNBC.

That rate represents a 63 percent increase from Washington’s current minimum wage of $9.19, which will rise on Jan. 1 to $9.32, the highest of any state, according to the Seattle Times.

Proposition 1 also called for annual increases tied to inflation, paid sick leave, and tip protection, and it requires employers to offer part-time workers more hours before hiring additional employees.

Related stories:
Domestic Minimum Wage Law Kills Jobs
Minimum Wage Fight Moves to Wash. City Ballot
Christie Re-elected Governor of New Jersey in Landslide

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