The governor has failed to take advantage of a great opportunity to give nearly 1 million New Jersey workers a raise, reduce inequality and help the state’s economy. Instead, he has decided to allow employers to continue paying 975,000 New Jerseyans so little that they can’t survive on their wages alone in this high-cost state. These workers and their families must continue to rely on the publicly funded safety net and the charity of the private nonprofit sector just to put food on the table, clothes on their backs and a roof over their heads.
The phased-in minimum wage hike, to $15 over 5 years, was a sensible, steady way to give working families across the state a better shot at success, and would have mostly helped adults working full-time despite the myths perpetuated by opponents of raising New Jersey’s pay. In fact, far more of New Jersey’s low-wage workers are raising kids of their own (28 percent) than are teenagers themselves (9 percent), and about 1 in 5 New Jersey children have at least one parent who would have received a raise under this proposal