TRENTON – Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34) said she will propose a mimium wage increase from $7.25 to $8.50 in her reorganization speech tomorrow.
“Six hundred and forty-seven thousand minimum-wage workers across the country started the new year with a minimum-wage increase, but not in New Jersey.”
Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington all increased their minimum wages, providing workers help with the increasing cost of living and boosting their state economies,” Oliver is expected to say in her speech. “It’s time for New Jersey to do the same. Let’s begin the discussion by accepting the 2009 recommendation of the New Jersey Minimum Wage Advisory Commission to increase the minimum wage to eight dollars and fifty cents per hour and establish an automatic annual increase based on the increase in the consumer price index.”
Oliver expects the Assembly will move on legislation in the coming weeks.
“Now I know some people will call this a burden on businesses, but recent studies by the National Employment Law Project show minimum wage increases do not cost jobs,” Oliver’s speech will say. “In fact, this is economic stimulus. And this is a recognition that thousands of households in New Jersey are struggling to subsist on minimum wage jobs that do not allow them to support their families. The National Employment Law Project has noted that minimum wage workers are most likely to cycle their money back into the economy. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago has noted that every dollar increase in the minimum wage means each family with minimum-wage earners spends an additional three thousand, two hundred dollars per year.”
“This is economic stimulus that doesn’t come in the form of more debt or increased spending.
“And at a time when some presidential candidates are saying poor people should be demanding jobs and not welfare, this proposal is about livable wages for the lowest-income earners,” Oliver is to say.
“Quite simply, we should all support economic stimulus, increased consumer spending and livable wages, and that’s what a minimum wage increase would accomplish for New Jersey.”