People who are either for or against raising New Jersey's minimum wage are looking to sway public opinion before the issue is debated in the Legislature.

Democrats who control the Assembly and Senate are leading the charge to increase the minimum wage by $1.25 an hour -- to $8.50 -- and tie future annual increases to economic performance data.

The Minimum Wage Advisory Commission and the state's business community are opposed. They argue that if business owners areforced to pay more for labor, they'll be less likely to hire, stalling economic recovery efforts.

The state Labor Department says nearly 40,000 workers are paidminimum wage.

Gov. Chris Christie says he'll listen to arguments on both sides, but the Republican says proponents haven't swayed him so far.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)