February 15, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Trenton, NJ – Leaders of New Jersey’s Assembly are planning to push to raise the state’s minimum wage from $8.38 an hour to $15. “You just can’t make ends meet under the current minimum wage,” Assemblymember John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) said at a news conference in the State House Feb. 4.
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson), also backed the $15 minimum, saying it would help reduce poverty. About one-third of the state’s workers make less than $15, but setting that minimum faces opposition from business groups, including the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, and Gov. Chris Christie. “There is absolutely no end to what Democrats in the Legislature will do to kill jobs,” a Christie spokesperson said. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who did not attend the news conference, said in a statement that he “supports efforts to further raise the minimum wage,” but did not specifically endorse increasing it to $15. New Jersey’s last minimum-wage increase came from a ballot initiative in 2013, when voters raised it from $7.25 to $8.25, indexed to inflation. Read more