$15 Minimum Wage Debate Creeps Closer

Date: October 02, 2018

 

 

According to New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney, marijuana legalization is taking priority in the Statehouse right now, but once that is taken care of, the focus will be on increasing the state minimum wage to $15 per hour. As a result, this will be NFIB/New Jersey’s biggest issue this fall.

 

However, although Gov. Phil Murphy wants to secure this issue by the end of the year, Sweeney believes it will take longer and that negotiations will likely continue into 2019. Sweeney is a believer in the $15 minimum wage, he told 101.5FM, but is worried about the proposal’s impact on small businesses. Sweeney has said that there should be carveouts for the law, such as exempting farm workers and teenagers, but Gov. Murphy is opposed to any exceptions.

 

At this writing, Gov. Murphy’s administration and the legislative leadership have not come to a consensus about the specifics of the proposal, but for small business owners, a mandated wage hike to $15 per hour is concerning, no matter the timeline or other parameters.

 

Earlier this year, the NFIB Research Center released an economic impact analysis of a $15 minimum wage in New Jersey. The study dealt with the proposal on the table at the time—Senate Bill 864—but the lessons are the same. If that measure had been approved, according to NFIB’s research, New Jersey could have lost 119,000 jobs over a 10-year time period beginning in 2019. It could also have resulted in a cumulative reduction in state economic output by $89 billion over the same period of time. Fifty-nine percent of the job losses were predicted to come from the small business sector of the economy, and 54 percent of the economic output loss was also predicted to come from small businesses.

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