NJ Business Leaders Say No to Hiking Minimum Wage [POLL/AUDIO]
A new ParenteBeard - New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Summer Survey of business leaders shows seven out of 10 think raising New Jersey's minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour would damage the state's efforts to retain and attract businesses.
"We're willing to address the minimum wage right now, but not this way," said Tom Bracken, president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. "That's not the right way to address this issue. The right way to address this issue is doing it the way it's been done in the past; through the legislature."
Fifty-three percent of the business leaders surveyed said it would have a harmful effect on their business. An even larger majority (84.3 percent) said they don't believe the state Constitution should be used to decide matters of policy such as the minimum wage.
"The business community does not want to see the New Jersey Constitution used to institutionalize private sector decisions," said Bracken. "If this ballot question is approved, annual raises would be automatically granted with no consideration to whether the economy is strong or weak, or whether the market warrants the increases."
Seven out of 10 (72.9 percent) said they prefer legislation that would increase the minimum wage by $1,00 phased in over three years, to $8.25 per hour as proposed by Gov. Chris Christie. Supporters insist hiking the wage will pour money into the state's economy.
"The maximum impact on the economy of New Jersey which is a $500 billion a year economy would by a 16/100 of one percent increase in our economy," explained Bracken citing a recent study. "Another hurdle put in the face of the business community at a time when we're recovering from (Superstorm) Sandy doesn't make a lot of sense."
This Election Day, Ballot Question No. 2 will ask New Jersey voters if they want to amend the state's Constitution to increase the minimum wage. If approved, it would lead to annual increases to the state minimum wage, in perpetuity based on the nation's CPI.
"What is next?" asked Bracken. " A ballot question on mandating prices?"