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One D&D Listener Has a Very Interesting Perspective on Raising NJ’s Minimum Wage

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The following is from a listener who would like you to consider his thoughts on Tuesday’s vote on raising the New Jersey minimum wage. I wholeheartedly agree with his position.

I would like to take a moment to offer the perspective a small business owner in NJ, and ask for voters consideration in Voting No on Ballot Question #2 in the Tuesday’s November 5th NJ election. This Ballot Question would Change the NJ State Constitution to require automatic annual increases to the states minimum wage, each and every year, regardless of the conditions in the economy. My position on this matter is NOT based on political ideology or Greed, however it is based on practical experience and the negative effect that it would have on many of the state’s small businesses. Every business in the state is not Walmart or McDonald’s, or a Corporation making billions of dollars in profit. Many are small owner operated businesses that have been the backbone of the economy through good economic times and bad. Many have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested, and/or large loans out on their business, and work 60-70+ hours per week just to get by. Most owners have also seen their incomes drop considerably in these tough economic times. Their carrying cost for an employee can be as much as 30% more than what they actually pay the employee, including insurances, payroll taxes, unemployment trust fund surcharges, etc… Although many small business owners would love to have the ability to pay all of their employees more, their resources are often very limited. While our Federal Government just prints money, or raises taxes to deal with budget issues, this is simply not an option for a small business owner. The only options of a small business owner to meet the requirements of this Constitutional Amendment would be to raise their prices (decreasing demand, and the consumer’s ability to afford their product or service), cut hours and staffing to meet the added cost of doing business, or simply give up and close their business. Either option would hurt our economy and many of the people this proposal is intended to help.

Governor Christie conditionally vetoed legislation to raise the minimum wage earlier this year, but did offer a bi-partisan compromise of raising the minimum wage by the same amount as in the ballot question. The only difference was that it would be phased in over a couple of years, and not raised automatically each year thereafter, constitutionally. I believe that this was a very fair compromise that would make it more possible for employers to raise all of their employees’ wages as the economy recovers, rather than just a few. It would also not put teenagers and students at risk of losing part time and seasonal jobs, these types of jobs are also valuable. The bi-partisan compromise was rejected by the State legislature, and instead they decided to place the matter on the upcoming ballot, and make the issue a political football. The contempt of Senator Linda Greenstein, who did not even bother to reply to my letter requesting that she support the bi-partisan compromise, and Assemblyman Wayne P. DeAngelo, whose reply clearly indicated that he did not care in the least about Small Business and their employees is unconscionable. Sadly, I have voted for both of these individuals in the past.

Those that know anything about me and my business know that I highly value my employees; I treat them very well, offering them plenty of flexibility, a great work environment, and potential to earn a great deal more than a minimum wage. I am not opposed to raising the minimum wage; however I am opposed to amending the Constitution, to provide automatic raises each year, with no regard to the state of the economy or business conditions at the time. I recently read a statistic indicating, the very few states that have recently provided automatic increases in their minimum wage on a yearly basis, have an average of 1 % higher unemployment rate than those states that do not.

On behalf of your locally owned Restaurant, Pizza Place, Ice Cream Parlor, Deli, Retail Store, Farm, etc… and their employees. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and your consideration in voting NO on Ballot Question #2. I am really sorry for the rant, but I am tired of seeing people being misled and listening to political spin, with no regard to reality, and the real casualty…Small Business. Please be fair to them as well. If people think NJ is an expensive place to live now, it will get really expensive if this amendment passes. Please share this in its entirety, or in part, if you are so inclined.

Thanks for your time,

George

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