$15 Minimum Wage Passed by the Legislature, Headed to the Governor's Desk

Date: June 24, 2016

Two bills being quickly passed through the legislative process would increase New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15. S15 was voted out of committee on Monday May 16 and was passed by the full senate on Thursday, June 23. Identical bill,  A15, was voted out of the Assembly Labor Committee on Thursday, May 19th and was passed by the Assembly in a 42-31-1 vote on Thursday, May 25. The bill will now head to Governor Christie’s desk; he’s expected to veto it.

S15 / A15 would:

  • immediately boost the current minimum wage from $8.38 to $10.10
  • annually increase the minimum wage by $1 until it reaches $15 per hour
  • maintain annual cost of living increases

CLICK HERE TO CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS, We expect this legislation to be considered for a second time by the legislature.

A radical minimum wage hike would crush many small businesses who are adjusting to constantly changing regulations and other labor requirements at the state and local level in New Jersey. Already, New Jersey is known for having high numbers of residents leaving the state for better jobs and lower taxes and an extreme minimum wage hike like this will certainly only encourage more residents to leave the state and take their businesses with them.

Not only will this or any additional minimum wage hike in New Jersey damage small business owners, but it will also hurt the very people it’s aimed at helping. The NFIB  Research Foundation released a study highlighting the devastating impact existing legislation will have if the minimum wage rate is raised to $15. According to the study, the long-term result of the labor cost increase associated with $15 an hour minimum wage would lead to 70,000 lost New Jersey jobs over the next decade. Additionally, the Research Foundation found that because the bill ties future increases to inflation once it hits $15 an hour, New Jersey’s minimum wage rate would exceed $17 an hour by 2027 if inflation continues the trend that it has experienced since the great recession.

Examples of the detrimental effects of minimum wage hikes are abundant. Three West Coast cities that raised their minimum wage are now paying the price in job losses. Within the past year, about 2,500 restaurant jobs were lost in the San Francisco metro area along with 2,200 hotel jobs in the LA area. Between January and June, Seattle lost about 1,300 restaurant jobs.

Investor’s Business Daily recently reported that job gains at restaurants, hotels, and other and hospitality venues have fallen to multiyear lows in cities that passed wage hikes of $10 or more. This is because businesses with narrow profit margins and non-profits can’t absorb these major labor cost increases. They have to find a way to make up the difference by raising prices or scaling back their staff. If that doesn’t work they simply are forced to close their doors. 
 

 

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