I support Governor Richard Codey's call for New Jersey to increase its minimum wage to $7.15 an hour.
Our current $5.15 hourly minimum wage is no longer feasible as the cost of living continues to rise. In a state where the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,026, workers trying to house a family only minimum wage only earn slightly more than $10,700 annually. Without an increase, these workers will continue to increasingly fall behind their counterparts, perpetuating the cycle of poverty that honest work is supposed to end.
Those who contend that an increase to $7.15 would hurt workers are clinging to the same unfounded arguments they have for decades. Time and again, the dire prediction of recession and job loss from a minimum wage increase have rung hollow - there is no proof this time would be any different.
For us in the Legislature, we can either cast our lot with the CEOs hoping to keep more of their profits for themselves or with the workers asking us to help them and their families afford a better life in New Jersey. For me, it's an easy choice.
Assemblyman Brian Stack