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New Jersey Minimum Wage – Will You Vote “Yes” to Raise It? [POLL]

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The heavy artillery is coming out in the battle to raise the minimum wage here, or keep it as is.

This coming November, we’ll have the choice to amend the state Constitution to include a minimum wage raise to 8.25 and hour and tie in yearly increases to the Consumer Price Index; or leave it at its current 7.25 an hour.

Here’s my bet.

Even if you’re making over minimum wage, you may feel that you’re still not making enough in your job. So if it doesn’t directly affect you, you might feel vicariously for the minimum wage worker and be swayed to vote “yes!”

That’s what one business group will by trying to dissuade you from doing.

According to this, there will be an ad campaign sponsored by a local business group to convince you to vote against raising the minimum wage.

A business-backed group is launching a half million-dollar ad campaign against raising New Jersey’s minimum wage.

The Washington DC-based Employment Policies Institute – a conservative think tank that receives some funding from the restaurant industry – is kicking off the campaign with television and radio ads that will begin airing Wednesday.

“Altering the New Jersey Constitution to include a minimum wage hike is a dangerous idea for the Garden State,” Michael Saltsman, the group’s research director, said in a statement. “The economic consensus is clear: Minimum wage hikes mostly harm the people they’re intended to help, and New Jersey is no exception to the rule.”

The group was founded by Richard Berman, a controversial Washington public relations executive who heads up many similar groups that advocate for corporate donors, according to the Boston Globe.

New Jersey voters will decide in November whether to amend the state constitution to increase the wage from $7.25 to $8.25, and tie future automatic increases to the Consumer Price Index.

Democrats put the question on the ballot after Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have raised the wage, instead suggesting gradually phasing in an increase over several years and eliminating the tie-in to the Consumer Price Index
Saltsman said his group plans to spend $500,000 on the ads over the next two months, after which they’ll consider whether to air more.

Here’s the ad:

The research the commercial refers to is a self-funded study by the Employment Policies Institute that claims raising the minimum wage would cost the state about 4,700 jobs.

Labor unions and other liberal groups have been campaigning for the wage increase, which polls show has overwhelming support among New Jersey voters. For instance, a Rutgers-Eagleton poll in June found 77 percent said they plan to vote yes on the ballot question, while 18 percent opposed raising the wage.

Saltsman said he believes people will change their minds once they understand the implications.

“There is no free lunch here, and there are consequences,” he said.

Saltsman acknowledged that his group receives some funding from the restaurant industry and other businesses and foundations, but said they don’t publicly disclose their donors.

Paul Penna, who is running the union-backed Working Families United for New Jersey’s “Raise the Wage” campaign, said the polls how widespread support for increasing the wage because “it benefits workers and the economy.”

“The dollar increase to the minimum wage would largely be immediately spent on basic necessities and will help improve the economy,” Penna said.

Theoretically Penna is right. Assuming all things to be equal, if the minimum wage were to be raised, technically it would put more money into the economy to be spent on everyday items.

Which would be a good thing, no?

Yes, but there’s no way you’re living in New Jersey on only one minimum wage job.

I’d probably be working at least 2, probably 3 minimum wage jobs just to try and make ends meet. And even that would be a stretch.

Were one of them to be put in jeopardy because of a mandated minimum wage increase, that puts me behind the 8 ball big time!

And even though it may sound like fear mongering to suggest more people could conceivably be put out of work with a mandated increase in the minimum wage, I’d still not want to take my chances and vote “yes!”

Yet my gut tells me, without even looking at polls, that the majority of voters will vote “yes”, if for no other reason than out of vicarious feeling for the “little guy”; and perhaps wanting to stick it to “the man!”

Just sayin’

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