Business groups warn hiking N.J. minimum wage will hurt economy

A constitutional amendment on the November ballot will allow New Jersey voters to decide whether to raise the state’s minimum wage.

Business groups say the amendment to boost the wage by a dollar and provide annual increases based on inflation will have some unintended consequences.

The measure could end up hurting the people it’s intended to help, according to Laurie Ehlbeck, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

“It’ll make the lowest wage people extinct,” she warned. “People are going to spend that much money to hire someone, they might as might as well hire someone that might be a little bit more skilled to fill the same position, someone that could do different things within their company.”

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If the amendment is approved, business groups say higher payroll costs could result in the loss of 31,000 jobs in the next 10 years and cause companies to raise prices.

Supporters of the wage increase say there’s no evidence it would reduce jobs or slow economic growth.

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