TRENTON – Senator Stephen M. Sweeney, Chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, today said his panel is prepared to advance an increase in the minimum wage and will work closely on the issue with Acting Governor Richard J. Codey.
“We will be working closely with Governor Codey and his recommendations to provide New Jersey workers with a real-time living wage,” said Senator Sweeney, the Legislature’s leading proponent for increasing the State’s minimum wage, currently set at $5.15 an hour.
Senator Sweeney introduced a bill on Nov. 15th to increase the minimum wage to $7 and to authorize annual adjustments to make it equal to 30 percent of the average hourly wage paid to all New Jersey workers – or to the federal minimum wage, whichever is higher. He said he expects his bill, S-2065, to be “part of the discussion” in developing the final minimum wage proposal.
“All of us who are concerned that New Jersey workers need a boost to their hourly pay rates should move ahead together, on the same page,” Senator Sweeney said. “What’s developing is a consensus – here in the Legislature and in the Governor’s office – that we need to improve the living wage situation for New Jersey families.”
Senator Sweeney said he believes the Legislature will give Acting Governor Codey a “meaningful increase” in the minimum wage when it completes its final votes on the upcoming legislation and forwards it for his consideration.
“I’m confident we can make a convincing argument that New Jersey’s above-average costs require us to make a significant boost in the minimum wage so people can feed their families and keep a roof over their heads,” Senator Sweeney said.