October 15, 2012
New Jersey State AFL-CIO Statement on Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Minimum Wage Hearing
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO and its community allies consider raising the minimum wage and including a COLA to be a top priority for our state. The goal is clear that in order to provide economic stability to low-income workers, New Jersey needs a permanent fix for calculating its minimum wage, and that means establishing an annual COLA.
New Jersey’s growing poverty statistics are startling and raising the minimum wage would be a strong first step toward addressing this problem. According to the Census Bureau, from 2007 – 2011, 63,322 children and 33,202 families in New Jersey have fallen into poverty, an increase of 28% and 24% respectively.
How many more families have to go into poverty before we fix this problem? The minimum wage should not be a partisan issue. Working families have suffered long enough and this issue has been debated long enough; it is time to let the voters decide.
There is no reason New Jersey cannot devise a sustainable solution for the minimum wage when COLAs have been passed in 10 other states. While politicians argue, the costs of health care, education, food, gas, electricity, and transportation are rising. Workers deserve a raise. Low-income workers should not have to suffer due to the volatility of the partisan environment inherent to our policy making process.
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO commends the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee which voted to advance legislation to raise the minimum wage. The committee released the bill 7-6, mostly along party lines.
Please find the committee vote below.
Senate Budget Appropriations Committee
Vote on SCR-1 to Raise the Minimum Wage
Jennifer Beck (R-11) – NO
Steven Oroho (R-24) – NO
Joseph Pennacchio (R-26) – NO
Anthony Bucco (R-25) – NO
Kevin O'Toole (R-40) – NO
Jeff Van Drew (D-01) – NO
Steve Sweeney (D-03) – YES
Linda Greenstein (D-14) – YES
Sandra Cunningham (D-31) – YES
Brian Stack (D-33) – YES
Nellie Pou (D-35) – YES
Paul Sarlo (D-36) – YES
Loretta Weinberg (D-37) – YES