Assembly approves raising N.J. minimum wage to $8.50

The New Jersey Assembly has voted 46-to-33 in favor of increasing the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, says New Jersey residents can’t live on the current $7.25 an hour minimum.

An increase will stimulate the economy, says Oliver, D-Essex.

“Putting additional money into the hands of our lowest wage-earning families in the state, that money goes directly and immediately back into the local economy,” she said.

Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, R-Morris, says boosting the minimum wage is not sound policy.

“Our state’s economy is on the rebound and hastily increasing the cost to businesses will threaten our sustained recovery,” said Bucco Thursday.

Opponents also object to a provision in the bill that would adjust the minimum wage annually based on the consumer price index.

The state Senate has not acted on the legislation, and it’s unclear whether Gov. Chris Christie would sign it.

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