While he is inclined to oppose legislation upping the state’s minimum wage, Gov. Chris Christie said he is open to discussion of the issue with Democratic leadership.
Christie said he met with Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver about the agenda for the coming few months and the potential for the increase in the minimum wage was among the issues discussed.
“I said to the speaker that my disposition was not necessarily in favor of a minimum wage increase, however, I am willing to sit and listen to arguments from experts as to why they think it should be done.”
Democrats have placed raising the minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 to $8.50 as a legislative priority. The move is not popular among many Republicans and members of the business community who see it as a job killing measure during a time of economic instability.
Asked what issues he might consider when deciding on the measure, Christie said he would like to see academic studies on the impact of a hike and hear from members of the business community on how the increase might affect job expansion.
“We’ve had five consecutive months of private sector job growth,” he said. “I want to see that continue and I don’t want to do anything that will diminish our ability to do that.”
Christie said he would talk to people on all sides of the issue and listen to any information passed along by members of the Legislature.
“We’ll sit down and talk about it and see if we can work it out,” Christie said. “If we can, great, if we can’t we will all perform our constitutional duties and see where it lands.”