Will NJ Voters Reject Minimum Wage Hike? [AUDIO]
In November, New Jersey voters will be asked if they would like to increase the minimum wage. Do you know how you plan to vote?
Recent polls show the overwhelming majority of voters support a November ballot question, which asks if they'd like to amend the constitution to increase the state's minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.25, and have the hike adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
The leader of the State Senate is fighting for the wage hike anyway because he knows there's no such thing as a sure thing.
"We are going to do this," said Sen. President Steve Sweeney. "Everyone says, 'Well, this is easy. This is going to be easy because everyone wants to vote for the minimum wage.' The business community is going to spend a whole lot of money telling you why it's bad."
Garden State business leaders warn of dire consequences if voters approve the ballot question. Citing a recent study they say as many as 31,000 jobs could be lost in New Jersey in the next decade.
"The difference between this initiative and previous increases is that it raises the cost of labor every year forever regardless of business conditions," said Laurie Ehlbeck, New Jersey state director of the National Federation of Independent Business. "The bottom line is that New Jersey will have many fewer jobs and a smaller economy if this Constitutional Amendment passes."
The original minimum wage increase bill was vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie who objected to the annual adjustments. He countered with a proposal to hike the wage by one dollar over three years.
"The time is now to put the pressure on," said Sweeney. "We can get this done. We will get it done and we are going to win on Nov. 5 (Election Day) because we're not going to quit. If we don't fight this could go down very easily."