TRENTON – Most of the Senate Democrats issued a joint statement Tuesday hailing the arrival on Wednesday, New Year’s Day, of the increase in the minimum wage to $8.25 an hour.
“Tomorrow, at the will of the voters, New Jersey will boost the minimum wage to a more acceptable $8.25 an hour. In the face of strident opposition from those who’d rather condemn hard working people to a life of poverty, Democrats in the Legislature and the good people of New Jersey made this day happen. We are proud that we stood firm to support those forced to work two and three jobs simply to make ends meet,” the statement reads.
“Raising the minimum wage will provide real, positive results for our state. Not only does it mean fathers and mothers being able to provide more for themselves and their children, but it also provides a boost to our local economies. We have no doubt that as the years go by, tomorrow will be looked at as an historic and great day in New Jersey’s history.”
The statement bore the names of 23 Senate Democrats. The lone omission is Sen. Jeff Van Drew, who voted against the increase.
The issue went before voters in November, and it passed easily.
Opponents of the hike have argued, among other things, that inclusion of a constitutionally mandated cost of living adjustment will hurt business down the road.
Key Assembly members applauded the arrival of the wage hike as well.
Speaker Sheila Oliver said in a release today that “We, Democrats and minimum wage supporters, believed it was time for a change in the how minimum wage increases were determined in this state, and time, after many years, for a boost in pay for New Jersey’s workers. The voters confirmed this on Election Day.
“Increasing the minimum wage and setting it on the path to support families in the future with annual increases helps men and women working long hours to keep up with the ever-rising cost of living in this state. They will no longer have to wait for government to determine if or when they deserve a raise.”
And Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, who will be Speaker in the next session, said that “Tomorrow’s minimum wage hike represents more than just a pay increase for 250,000-plus New Jersey workers. It represents compassion. It represents understanding.
“And, because New Jersey voters chose to tie future increases to increases in the Consumer Price Index, tomorrow’s increase represents a permanent first step toward increased financial security for 250,000 New Jersey men and women.”