$8.25 minimum wage set to begin in New Jersey

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A dollar-an-hour increase in New Jersey’s minimum wage takes effect Jan. 1.

Opinions differ on how the new $8.25 hourly wage will affect the economy.

Gordon MacInnes, president of New Jersey Policy Perspective, said giving the state’s lowest-wage workers an increase will help boost the economy.

“They’re going to spend it immediately and locally,” he said. “They’re so far behind in everything, they need to catch up. So there’s no hesitation about spending.”

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A spokesman for the National Federation of Independent Business has a different prognosis — that the higher minimum wage will be a drag on New Jersey’s economy as companies try to cut other costs.

“They’re going to lay off lots of employees, so they’ll no longer be productive,” said Jack Mozloom. “They’re going to have to make modifications in their own spending so they’re going to have to buy less materials, buy fewer supplies.”

Nine states increased the minimum wage in 2012. The difference in job creation and job cuts in those nine states is almost identical to the other 41, MacInnes said.

A constitutional amendment approved by voters in November also provides for annual minimum wage boosts in future years based on the rate of inflation.

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