A group of New Jersey lawmakers, labor leaders and activists are urging voters to pass an increase in the state's minimum wage

Minimum wage campaign (Kevin McArdle, Townsquare Media NJ)

On Nov. 5, voters will be asked if they would like to amend the state Constitution to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.25 an hour.  The rate would also be adjusted annually based on the rate of inflation.

“This is what we stand for and what we believe in,” said State Sen. President Steve Sweeney. “These are not kids flipping hamburgers.  You know how you fix the economy? You know how to make things better in this state? You raise the bar.”

Many in the business community warn that tying annual increases to the Consumer Price Index is unpredictable and they say the hikes could lead to hours being cut, employees being laid off and less workers being hired.

“Raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour with an annual COLA (cost of living adjustment) isn’t a nice thing to do,” said Laurel Brenann, secretary-treasurer with the New Jersey State AFL-CIO. “It’s isn’t a luxury that we have if have a little extra time on our hands. It’s an imperative thing. It’s the right thing to do.”