Only a week after he vetoed their bill to make same-sex marriage legal, New Jersey Democrats are already pushing the Republican Governor Chris Christie to raise the state’s hourly minimum wage from $7.50 to $8.50.
Legislation that would increase the state’s hourly minimum wage to $8.50 and then adjust it annually based on the Consumer Price Index was heard today by the Assembly Labor Committee in Committee Room 11 on the fourth floor of the State House Annex on West State Street in Trenton.
The Democrats have said that increasing the minimum wage — which is now $7.25 an hour — would be a priority this legislative session.
“This is economic stimulus and a recognition that thousands of households in New Jersey are struggling to subsist on minimum wage jobs that do not allow them to support their families,” Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, D-Essex, said. “This is also about livable wages. Quite simply, we should all support economic stimulus, increased consumer spending and livable wages.”
The bill, A-2162, increases New Jersey’s hourly minimum wage rate to $8.50 on July 1 and then requires that, starting in calendar year 2013, the minimum wage rate be adjusted on July 1 each year based on any increase in the CPI.
“Having a minimum wage that accurately reflects the state’s economic reality is common sense, but also an essential tool that will have an immediate positive effect on our economy,” Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, D-Camden, said. “Traditionally, New Jersey has been a leader in providing economic security for its working families by ensuring a fair minimum wage. This is the time to do the right thing
by increasing the minimum wage.”
The minimum wage in the state last was raised in 2009, when it went from $7.15 to $7.25. The hourly minimum was also raised in 2006 (to $6.15) and 2007 (to $7.15).