New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says minimum wage increases should be decided by voters, not politicians.

Steve Sweeney and Chris Christie (Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen)

A Senate panel heard testimony Monday on Sweeney's proposal to put a minimum wage increase before voters next year. It would ask to raise the wage by $1, to $8.25 per hour, and tie yearly increases to national economic data, called indexing.

The Gloucester County Democrat says he wants to amend the constitution because Gov. Chris Christie told him he wouldn't sign a bill that includes indexed adjustments.

Opponents say changing the constitution is too hard to undo if the economy sours again. The Assembly passed a bill raising the wage to $8.50 and creating annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index.

Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver wants that bill sent to Christie.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.