As anticipated, Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed legislation yesterday that would have increased New Jersey’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 on March 1, and tied future increases to the Consumer Price Index. As we have written here, it is likely Democrats will now push forward with efforts to put the minimum wage question on the ballot for voters to decide in November.
While Governor Christie found the bill untenable in its current form because he believes it will jeopardize economic recovery, he did not reject a minimum wage increase outright. Instead, Governor Christie now proposes a smaller rate increase to be phased in over three years, with no link to CPI. Christie suggested an immediate $0.25 per hour increase, followed by $0.50 in 2014 and another $0.25 increase in 2015. Even these slight increases would propel New Jersey ahead of 22 other states whose minimum wage is $7.25, the same as the federal minimum.
We will continue to monitor New Jersey’s minimum wage debate and the impact on our business community.