Kean: Tying minimum wage hike to CPI ensures volatility

MONROE – When it comes to increasing the minimum wage, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., (R-21), Westfield, said the issue is not whether it should be increased.

“It’s how you are doing it,” he said at a state Chamber of Commerce breakfast forum at the Forsgate Country Club today.

“I personally think it’s a very strange way to negotiate to say give us a hundred percent…or we’re going to go around you anyway,” he said. “It’s a very unique way to address an issue.”

Senate President Steve Sweeney said earlier at that same event that if Gov. Chris Christie doesn’t sign the minimum wage bill that he sponsored and which will be voted on Thursday he will seek to have a constitutional amendment, which would require the voters to approve it in a ballot referendum.

Kean said that just because 10 other states have tied their wage hikes to the consumer price index doesn’t necessarily mean New Jersey should jump on the bandwagon. He added business owners need to be able to know what their costs will be. But tying wage increases to the rate of inflation will bring about volatility, he said.

“We need to make sure we have predictability,” he said. “Let’s work on a negotiated way to increase the minimum wage.”

The minority leader said the point behind a minimum wage is to get past it “so they could grow their own futures…so we have private-sector job growth.”

Kean said job creation will be the state’s number one responsibility going forward, adding that schools need to better prepare students to be career- and college-ready, regardless of what “ZIP code” they come from.

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Kean: Tying minimum wage hike to CPI ensures volatility