TRENTON – Calling it one of the most “difficult” and painful” votes he has had to take, Sen. Jeff Van Drew, (D-1), Dennis Township, joined Republican senators today to vote no on raising the minimum wage. He was the only Democratic senator to do so.
“We’re in a vulnerable, volatile period of time now, as far as our economy. I just didn’t believe this is the right time perhaps to do so,” he said after the session.
The bill, S3, calls for raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50. It passed 23-16. Sen. Anthony Bucco, (R-25), was absent.
Van Drew said he feared a wage hike would lead to a greater exodus of businesses and make the state, which already has a high unemployment rate, less competitive.
“I’m just concerned with all the other issues out there, the taxes and fees and costs, that we, with the concern on the storm on top of that, this along with all that, just makes it more difficult for us to have a competitive process,” he said.
He said the South Jersey employers in his district are planning to cut back and he believed that hiking the minimum wage would make the problem even worse.
“The only thing worse than getting paid minimum wage is having no job at all,” he said.
He said he understands his constituents’ needs and that’s why he fought to save the Vineland Development Center, which had initially been recommended by the state for closure, saving between 1,300 and 1,500 jobs.