TRENTON – The question of whether the state should increase its minimum wage seems poised to head to voters in the upcoming election, according to legislative leaders.
Senate President Steve Sweeney has vowed to leave it up to voters to decide the issue if Gov. Chris Christie rejected the Legislature’s proposal. With the governor’s swipe of his pen Monday, lawmakers now indicate they’re ready to vote on a measure that would send the question to the ballot box.
“The Democratic caucuses in both the Senate and the Assembly are, of course, disappointed that the governor did not sign our legislation as presented to him: $8.50 an hour with a Consumer Price Index,” Speaker Sheila Oliver said in a statement.
“So, we will use a tool available to us legislatively. We will vote on a bill that will put this on the ballot in November 2013,” she said, adding, “We just need a simple majority of votes out of the Assembly and the Senate, which we know we will have.”
Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald said in a statement that “Families struggling to get by on a minimum wage salary have not seen a legitimate increase in more than six years. Phasing in a dollar increase over the next three years essentially forces them to wait nearly a decade for an increase that will lag well behind the cost of living increases by that time.
“Governor Christie’s attempt to use the Earned Income Tax Credit to distract from his veto of a minimum wage increase is beyond cynical. New Jersey’s working families won’t be fooled, as they remember it was the Governor himself who attacked working families by slashing this bipartisan program in the first place.”