NJ Minimum Wage Vote – My Guess is it Passes [POLL]
I’ve said this all along that it’s nearly impossible to get by on just one salary here. Depending on the money you’re making, it’s possible you’re bringing in 2, perhaps 3, maybe even 4 salaries just to make ends meet.
That might be reason alone to raise the minimum wage from the present 7 and a quarter to $8.25 and hour and have yearly increases tied to the cost of living index.
We all want to make more money, but does raising the minimum wage necessarily guarantee that?
Oh, I know. There’ve been studies suggesting that it would, but all things being equal, were you to lose hours or even one of those coveted jobs itself, who knows? Your situation might become more dire than the one you’re in now.
I work a couple of jobs myself. This one and a job as a personal trainer at a local gym. While I’m not complaining (yet), were I to lose the job at the gym, there goes money I’d use to possibly pay a bill.
New Jersey is considering whether to increase the pay of its lowest-paid workers. A Nov. 5 referendum will decide whether to boost the state minimum wage by $1 and tie future increases to inflation.
Gov. Chris Christie, who visited the North Wildwood Boardwalk last week, vetoed a bill that would have raised New Jersey’s minimum wage to $8.50 with annual increases tied to the Consumer Price Index.
State Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, voted against the bill.
“Clearly, nobody can live on the current minimum wage. It needs to be adjusted,” he said.
But Van Drew, of Dennis Township, said he was opposed to language calling for automatic increases tied to inflation.
“It was one of the hardest votes I ever had to make. But I had a good number of employers come to me and say without question they would reduce hours and possibly reduce employees,” he said. “That concerned me because our unemployment rate (in South Jersey) is already so high.”
Former state Assemblyman Matt Milam, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, also bucked his party by voting against it.
Milam, who owns a trucking company in Vineland, said his employees make well above minimum wage. But he talked to many business owners who expressed concern about cost increases for mandatory health insurance, increasing the minimum wage and the lingering effects off the recession.
“At the time of the vote, there were a lot of things that were bad timing,” Milam said. “From an employer standpoint, it was too much at one fell swoop. That dollar increase should be phased in over three years.”
Milam said increasing the minimum wage likely will drive up wages for other workers as well.
“When you look at an employer with an employee at $8.75, now he has to increase that person’s wages to $10,” he said.
The proposed increase does not keep pace with the cost of living since 2006, when the state last raised the minimum wage, said Gordon MacInnes, president of New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal nonprofit research group based in Trenton.
“With inflation, the minimum wage would be $8.40,” he said. “In a very high-cost state, we have families that are struggling mightily to survive. The idea that $7.25 is adequate — anyone would know that’s not the case.”
His group disputes the idea that raising the minimum wage would lead to higher unemployment.
He points to the decreasing unemployment in the nine states that raised their minimum wages in 2012.
“This is a contention that has gone on for years. The impact of the minimum wage is almost undetectable in terms of employment levels, job creation and job loss,” he said.
Economist Richard Perniciaro, director of Atlantic Cape Community College’s Center for Regional and Business Research, said raising the minimum wage would have a negligible impact on the state’s unemployment rate or the competitiveness of small business.
“The impact on business is way overstated. I don’t see how it’s going to push many small businesses out of business,” he said. “I’m all for a higher minimum wage.
It makes sense.”
Perniciaro may be right in saying that it may not push many small businesses out of business, but that suggests it may push some out, and forces the others to reduce hours or manpower.
However, the voters come November will decide; and the reason why I say it will pass is simply the notion that we all want to make more money.
And even if you’re making more than minimum, the average voter will go into the booth with the vicarious notion that he or she will be voting a raise for themselves.
That’s what I’m guessing.