At town hall in Woodland Park, O'Toole discusses vote against minimum wage hike

Matthew Kadosh

Passaic Valley Today

WOODLAND PARK - Sen. Kevin O'Toole addressed a myriad of issues at a town hall meeting in the borough Wednesday night, including his vote against a bill that would hike New Jersey's minimum wage, and his support for pension reform.

Former Woodland Park Councilwoman Ruth Patterson asked if O'Toole voted for or against a bill that would have increased the state's minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $8.50 per hour.

"People can't live on a wage in this state," she said. "They're moving out."

O'Toole voted against the bill because, he said, the future wage increases were tied to the cost of living adjustment. That number is based on the consumer price index a measure of cost increases in the region.

Teri Duda, senior vice president of public affairs at Berkeley College, which has a campus in Woodland Park, asked that O'Toole support a bill that would exempt students from a requirement that they pay health insurance. She said that the health insurance rates would increase when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act kicks in.

"They are going to be required to pay horrendous insurance taxes," she said, then added, "I'm asking you senator to push this (bill) forward."

"It has to be reintroduced in the senate and assembly then pushed through or else these students are going to drop out," she said in an interview.

O'Toole said, "I think you'll see tremendous support for this bill."

Judy Volchik, a resident of the Four Seasons at Great Notch, a local retirement community, told the senator that two years ago taxes in their development were increased by more than...

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