Legislation that would provide a mechanism to delay future increases in the minimum wage won the backing of the Asbury Park Press editorial department this morning even as that bill scheduled for this morning’s committee meeting was pulled from the agenda.
“It doesn’t sound like the bill will be back on the docket anytime soon,” the editorial states. “That would be unfortunate.”
The Asbury Park Press opposed the minimum wage increase when it was enacted earlier this year, largely because it had lacked this type of economic off-ramp.
“We understood the need to raise the minimum wage, which had failed to keep up with inflation,” the editorial states. “But some flexibility should have been built into the legislation to allow for any necessary mid-course corrections. Both New York’s and California’s minimum wage laws provide such a mechanism. So should New Jersey’s.”
Read the full editorial here.
New Jersey’s law increased the minimum wage to $10 an hour for most businesses on July 1 and will increase it again on Jan. 1 to $11 an hour. Increases will take place annually, with all businesses having to pay workers at least $15 an hour in 2026. After that, annual increases will mirror increases in the Consumer Product Index (CPI). Legislation (S-3607), sponsored by Sen. Vin Gopal, would create a mechanism by which the state treasurer could suspend increases if the economy shrinks severely enough.
NJBIA had urged legislators to include the off-ramp provision in the original bill, along with other provisions, to ease some of the negative impacts of the law. These included an economic incentive to hire high school students and a mechanism to help healthcare providers working under Medicaid reimbursement rates, which are based on a $7.25-an-hour minimum wage.
NJBIA will continue to pursue these initiatives before the current legislative session ends Jan. 14.