Initiative Would Be Placed on Ballot in 2013
TRENTON – A Senate resolution sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D – Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland) that would call for a constitutional amendment to raise the state’s minimum wage and tie further increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) cleared the full Senate today. The initiative would be placed on the 2013 ballot for voter approval.
“The governor failed to stand up for working people in this state, so now we are going to take this issue directly to the voters,” said Sweeney. “It is time to remove politics and politicians from this process once and for all. The people of New Jersey clearly support this issue and I have no doubt that they will overwhelmingly approve this measure in the fall.”
Under the resolution, the state’s minimum wage would be increased from the current rate of $7.25 an hour to $8.25 an hour beginning January 1, 2014. After that, any increase in the minimum wage would be indexed to the annual CPI. Voters would get to decide the issue this November.
According to the Office of Legislative Services, ten states, representing 21% of the nation’s workforce, have indexed their minimum wage to changes in the CPI: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Missouri, Montana, Vermont, and Washington. Every one of those states, except Vermont, adopted an indexed minimum wage by ballot initiative.
As of January 1, 2013, 19 states have set minimum wages above the federal minimum of $7.25. These 19 states are listed here with the ten states among them which have indexed minimum wages bolded and italicized: Washington, $9.19; Oregon, $8.95; Vermont, $8.60; Nevada, Illinois and Connecticut, $8.25; California and Massachusetts, $8.00; Ohio, $7.85; Arizona and Montana, $7.80; Florida, $7.79; Colorado, $7.78; Alaska and Rhode Island, $7.75; Maine and New Mexico, $7.50; Michigan, $7.40; and Missouri, $7.35.
In order to be placed on the November, 2013 ballot, the resolution, SCR1, must pass both houses of the Legislature in 2012 and 2013. SCR1 was approved by both houses in 2012. It now heads to the Assembly.