New Jersey Citizen Action released the following statement today on two bill introduced that would roll back the minimum wage increase that went into effect less than a year ago. The bills, introduced by state Democratic Senator Vin Gopal (LD-11), will be posted in the Senate Labor Committee on November 14th with the approval of Senate President Stephen Sweeney (LD-3) and Chairman Fred Madden (LD-4).
“Today Democratic Senator Gopal introduced two bills that would roll back the minimum wage increase, which has been celebrated by Democratic leaders like Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Coughlin as the means to lift working families out of poverty,” said Dena Mottola Jaborska, Associate Director of New Jersey Citizen Action. “S3607 in particular would all but guarantee a freeze to the minimum wage increases, as it puts annual increases of the state’s minimum wage on an indefinite off-ramp. Currently our employment levels are at an all-time high and a downturn in the near future is very likely. If NJ’s economy takes a down turn based on several indicators – including if we see an increase in unemployment—the minimum wage increases would cease. This rollback legislation proposed by Senator Gopal would hit our working families hard at a time when they need an increase in wages more than ever.
“We don’t know why our Democratic legislative leaders, or any other Democrat in the New Jersey Legislature, would ally with Republicans, who opposed the minimum wage. It’s startling to see our Democratic leaders advance a rollback of their own policy, which they adamantly advanced and celebrated as a victory for working people. Advocates working on behalf of working families, including New Jersey Citizen Action, are urging the legislature to reject these bills and we are urging the leaders to stop any attempt to advance them. Our time and energy would be better spent in advancing positive policies for working families left unfinished, instead of defending a historic and transformative policy already enshrined in law for working families. We’re concerned and disappointed to see any state legislators attempt to roll back the minimum wage increase. If our elected leaders are serious about lifting our communities out of poverty, they must not advance this policy.”
New Jersey Citizen Action is a statewide advocacy and social service organization that fights for social, racial and economic justice for all while also meeting the pressing needs of low and moderate income New Jerseyans through education and direct service.