The New Jersey Business & Industry Association submitted oral and written testimony opposing the $15 minimum wage bill today to two legislative committees. The testimony included letters from member businesses who spoke of dire consequences for their operations should the bill in its current form become law.
In the past week, NJBIA has solicited 3,000 letters from business owners and concerned workers and citizens asking legislators to vote no on A-15/S-15.
A small sampling of the letters can be found here.
“The responses we have received from the business community have been passionate and it’s critical that legislators recognize their concerns,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka, who testified before the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee today. “The theme over many of these stories was concern about compression for those already making $15 an hour, the impact on Medicaid and increased costs to state government. Companies are challenged in their inability to raise costs at the retail level and, therefore, will need to cut costs through cutting hours and benefits.
“There is also the concern about the overall impact a $15 minimum wage will have on their ability to provide other benefits like healthcare coverage. Many of our members are also calling for an offset for workforce training since many are challenged to hire a trained workforce as it is.
“And, yes, some of them say they will either close or relocate. We take them at their word and our legislators should, too.”
Before the Assembly Appropriations Committee today, NJBIA Vice President Michael Wallace said that moving the $15 minimum wage bill “without an economic analysis is irresponsible.”
“We are 10 years out from the last recession and most economists will tell you that the next recession will hit within the next two or three years,” Wallace said. “And according to Standard & Poor’s, New Jersey is one of 15 states at an elevated risk for fiscal distress during the next recession.”
Wallace’s full written testimony can be found here.