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New Jersey Governor Vetoes Minimum Wage Increase

By Pat Garofalo on January 28, 2013 at 3:10 pm

"New Jersey Governor Vetoes Minimum Wage Increase"

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) today vetoed an increase in the minimum wage that was passed by the state’s Democratic senate. Using what’s known as a “conditional veto,” Christie sent the bill back saying he would sign it if certain changes were made, including: shrinking the increase from $8.50 to $8.25 per hour, phasing it in over three years, and eliminating a provision tying the wage to inflation.

New Jersey’s current minimum wage stands at $7.25, so Christie’s veto, in essence, is saying that he believes a $1 increase in the wage over three years is sufficient. As the New Jersey Policy Perspective noted, “the first year increase proposed by the governor of 25 cents will be erased by inflation by the time the third year kicks in its 25 cents.” Here are more benefits that Christie denied to working New Jerseyans:

Wages would have increased by $439 million in the first year;

– Overall economic activity would increase by $278 million in the first year;

The equivalent of 2,420 new full time jobs would be created;

537,000 people would have received an increase in wages: 307,000 New Jerseyans making between $7.25 and $8.50 per hour would’ve seen an immediate raise, and 230,000 New Jerseyans making between $8.50 and $9.75 per hour would’ve seen a raise as pay scales were adjusted upwards.

Christie vetoed the wage increase, even though the cost of living in the Garden State is about 30 percent higher than the national average, according to a study by the New Jersey Minimum Wage Advisory Commission.

Christie claimed that the minimum wage bill would threaten the slow economic recovery in New Jersey. “The sudden, significant minimum-wage increase in this bill, coupled with automatic raises each year tied to the Unites States consumer price index, will jeopardize the economic recovery we all seek,” Christie said. But as the Center for American Progress’ T. William Lester, David Madland, and Nick Bunker wrote, “We reviewed academic research that examines the effects of minimum wage increases during a recession or stretch of time with high unemployment and found significant evidence that even during hard economic times, raising the minimum wage is likely to have no adverse effect on employment.”

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