Minimum Wage Ballot Question Stalls
By Jeffrey T. Kaszerman, NJCPA Government Relations Director –
March 1, 2017
An effort by leading Democratic lawmakers to pass legislation that would have put a minimum wage hike ballot question up for a vote in November 2017 has stalled. The soonest it could come to a public vote is now November 2018.
The issue stalled because Democratic leaders in the Assembly and Senate had different views on what the constitutional amendment should do. Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto wanted to phase in a $15-per-hour wage for all minimum wage workers by 2022. Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who represents a rural part of the state, supported a gradual $15-per-hour wage for everyone except farm workers and minors, who would earn $10 per hour.
The NJCPA and other business groups in New Jersey have come out against the proposal to amend the constitution to hike the minimum wage. They believe that amending the constitution is an inappropriate way to pass legislation of this nature and that it would hit small businesses very hard and lead them to cut jobs.
“While we appreciate the Legislature’s efforts to help working families, we believe increasing the minimum wage and imposing another mandate on businesses will have a particularly negative impact on Main Street and small businesses throughout the state,” said NJCPA CEO and Executive Director Ralph Albert Thomas, CGMA.
“Members of the NJCPA work with thousands of small businesses across the state, and those CPAs tell us that their clients will only have two choices in order to afford a $15 minimum wage: reduce their workforce or pass on the increasing cost of their goods, services and products to consumers,” he added.