Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. is continuing to champion efforts to raise the state minimum wage to a living wage. Our coalition applauds announcements from state and national lawmakers to advance bills that would raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
At the state level, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto announced today that they would jointly sponsor legislation raising the minimum wage to $10.10, with annual increases to push the hourly minimum to at least $15 over five years. In the case that the Governor vetoes this bill, lawmakers are prepared to take the issue directly to voters as done when the minimum wage was on the ballot in 2013. Federal legislation proposed by Congressman Donald Norcross would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour and fully phase in by 2023.
Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. has proven that raising the minimum wage is a win-win for working families and economic growth. Those who argued in 2013 that increasing the minimum wage would stifle growth and destroy jobs were proven wrong. Yet, we can expect to face the same discredited scare tactics again this time around.
The fact is that the minimum wage in our state must reflect the high cost of living that New Jerseyan know all too well. With state poverty levels at a 50 year high and 20 percent of residents holding half of all the income, the need for a living wage is more important than ever before.
Contrary to the narrative pushed by opponents, the last minimum wage increase created jobs, grew the economy, and most importantly gave hard working families in our state a modest, yet much-needed bump in income. To grow the economy, we need to grow the middle class, and that is exactly what a $15 living wage will do.
Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc. is proud to lead efforts for a New Jersey living wage in partnership with over 256 grassroots coalition partners dedicated to a brighter future for all working families in New Jersey.