Senate President Steve Sweeney kicked off a statewide tour of small businesses today in order to highlight the success of raising New Jersey’s minimum wage and what it means to give a boost to working people.
The first stop was at Foodtown in New Brunswick, where Sweeney, along with New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill, met with owner John Estevez and various employees who make minimum wage. He then traveled to Sahil Clothing in Iselin, where he, along with Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan and Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (both D-Middlesex) talked with owner Praful Patel. Both Estevez and Patel discussed raising the minimum wage and what it has meant for their businesses.
“Time and again increasing the minimum wage has shown the positive impacts of giving a boost to working people,” said Sweeney. “Rather than simply give tax breaks to the so called ‘job creators’ we need to be investing more in the working poor and middle class. That money gets put right back into the economy, benefiting local businesses and communities.”
Senate President Sweeney was the prime sponsor of legislation which, last year, placed a constitutional amendment on the ballot to raise the state’s minimum wage and tie further increases to the Consumer Price Index. The initiative was overwhelmingly approved by the voters last fall. Senate President Sweeney spoke about how New Jersey was able to overcome opposition from Governor Christie in order to pass the minimum wage increase at a panel forum held earlier this month at the White House.
“We are seeing the same kind of fight nationally that we did in New Jersey. Republicans are blocking progress based on debunked conservative theory. We know that raising wages for the working poor has a positive impact for our towns and businesses. It’s time for those right-wing members of Congress to get behind working people in this country and support President Obama’s call for raising the federal minimum wage,” added Sweeney.
Further stops will be announced in the coming days.
Below are two pictures from the event. The first is the Senate President with the Estevez family in Foodtown. The second is Assemblywoman Pinkin, Assemblyman Diegnan, the Senate President, and Mr. Patel.