Gov. Chris Christie has conditionally vetoed a bill that would have raised New Jersey’s minimum wage by $1.25 an hour and provided for annual increases based on inflation.
Instead, Christie is proposing an alternate plan to boost the base pay by $1, to be phased in over three years, and couple it with a 25 percent increase in the state’s earned income tax credit.
Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver opposes tying those increases together. And she says the Democratic majority in the Legislature will move forward with a constitutional amendment to put the minimum wage hike question to voters.
“We will, during the month of February, vote a second time to put this on the ballot in November. It will be our original legislation with a consumer price index built in,” said Oliver, D-Essex.
Assembly Republican Minority Leader Jon Bramnick says Christie’s proposal is a reasonable compromise that would be more acceptable to businesses.
Stefanie Riehl of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association agrees.
Businesses “will be able to now budget, and they will have some predictability with knowing when an increase is going to come as opposed to having it tied to an economic indicator,” Riehl said Monday.
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg said Monday she is disappointed that Christie rejected the bill the Legislature approved.
“If $8.50 is too much to give to low-wage workers, I think the governor should take another look at what the cost of living in New Jersey is,” she said.
Bramnick dismissed the Democrats’ disappointment, saying the push to put the minimum wage increase on the November ballot is a political ploy.
“As the polls come out and the governor becomes more and more popular and the Democrats fear a landslide by this governor, that’s why I think they want to put something on the ballot to bring out more Democrats,” he said.