It’s no surprise that many small business owners in the state support raising the paltry minimum wage, as you can see in this new video from our friends at New Jersey Main Street Alliance. Many, of course, already pay rates higher than $7.25 an hour because they value their workforce and want to reduce costly, headache-inducing turnover. But there’s also an economic reason for these businesses to support raising the wage and tying future increases to rising costs of living.
In poll after poll, the number one concern identified by small business owners is a lack of sales. Labor costs? Well, that usually falls towards the bottom of a long list of concerns. In other words, what New Jersey’s small businesses really need are more customers who have more money to spend.
The minimum wage increase on next week’s ballot would generate $276 million in additional wages for hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers. These folks don’t have the luxury of stashing extra wages in offshore accounts. In fact, a huge chunk of this money will be spent immediately and locally on needs like food, housing and other essentials. This will translate to an estimated $175 million boost in New Jersey economic activity in 2014 – good news for New Jersey’s economy and many of its small businesses.
As for the claim by business lobbyists that the measure will kill jobs?
Let’s be honest. They hope that if they say it often and loudly enough, people will think it’s true. But it just isn’t – and this has been proven by decades of real-world experience that is cataloged in a huge volume of academic research. The bottom line is that raising the minimum wage has no discernible effect on employment levels. It’s instructive to remember who we’re talking about here. These are folks who were against Social Security, the eight-hour workday, the five-day workweek, child labor laws and every other benefit to workers that the business lobby claimed would be the end of the world as we know it and that instead created America’s middle class.
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