New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is refusing to sign a measure to increase the state's minimum wage over concerns for requirements in annual adjustments for inflation.
Democrats were pushing a raise in the hourly minimum wage floor from $7.25 to $8.50, which passed the New Jersey state assembly in May and was awaiting vote in the state Senate.
Opponents of raising the minimum wage say small businesses cannot pass along the expense of higher payroll expenditures to consumers. The end result of a mandatory wage hike would be fewer jobs, according the small business advocates.
"We're telling small business owners that not only are we going to raise their costs by a buck and a quarter, but we're also going to raise it with these cost-of-living adjustments," Governor Christie said during a town-hall style meeting in Lyndhurst. "Here's what's going to happen -- they're going to have to lay people off."
Under a proposal by Speaker Sheila Oliver, the wage floor would increase automatically annually based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
"I do not believe it's going to shut down businesses overnight," Oliver said, according to media reports. "I do not believe that businesses are going to flee our state. ... There are now more than 2.2 million people living in poverty in New Jersey, and we have an obligation to do something about it."
by RTT Staff Writer
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