Gov. Phil Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders in New Jersey say one priority this fall will be enacting a measure to boost the state’s $8.60 an hour minimum wage to $15.
Lawmakers are formulating a bill to do that, but they haven’t worked out all the specifics, said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.
“We need to take a look at everything. There are differing views from all sorts of phases of the economy and segments of the population,” said Coughlin, D-Middlesex. “We’re going to try to put together a bill that we know will pass.”
Murphy promised a $15 minimum wage during his campaign, and he has vowed again that he will make good on that promise.
“For the business community, we’ve got to be careful of the sticker shock. You can’t make that leap overnight,” he said. “So this has to be phased in over a series of years.”
Murphy has taken issue with opponents’ concerns that increasing the minimum wage would hurt businesses.
“Employees aren’t a cost item to be kept as low as possible. This is not goods or materials. They are what help businesses grow and succeed,” he said. “And when employees earn a livable wage, morale increases, and turnover decreases.”
Murphy said the minimum wage hike would pump billions of dollars into the state’s economy.