On November 5, 2013, New Jersey residents voted to approve an amendment to the New Jersey Constitution that will result in a $1.00 increase in the state's minimum wage rate. As of January 1, 2014, New Jersey's minimum wage rate will increase from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour. The constitutional amendment also ties future minimum wage rate increases to cost-of-living increases, as reflected by the consumer price index. Annually on September 30, the state will review the minimum wage rate and make cost-of-living adjustments, as appropriate.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who was easily reelected on the same day, vetoed legislation in January of this year that would have increased the minimum wage to $8.50 and tied future increases to the consumer price index. In response, the Democratic-controlled state Senate and General Assembly approved a resolution calling for the constitutional amendment. The resolution allowed lawmakers to bypass the Republican governor and take the matter directly to New Jersey voters. The measure passed with 60-percent voter support.
New Jersey is not the only state to link its minimum wage rates to the consumer price index; Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Ohio have all amended their state constitutions to address cost-of-living adjustments to their minimum wage rates. In addition, New York and Connecticut are phasing in increases to their minimum wage rates over the next two years that will result in a $9.00 minimum wage in those states. Washington remains the state with the highest minimum wage rate in the nation with a rate of $9.19 per hour.