Bayonne mayor urges voters to approve minimum wage hike, but not all agree

By. Joseph R. Vena

Mayor Mark Smith may have shown no hesitation in urging Bayonne voters to vote to raise the state’s minimum wage this November, but opinions are divided among city business owners.

At last Thursday’s regular meeting, the Bayonne City Council approved a resolution asking residents to vote yes on Question 2 of the state’s general election ballot on Nov. 5. The measure would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour beginning Jan. 1.

“Paying a living wage should be the cornerstone of our economic recovery plan,” Smith said. “Helping people make a decent living and provide for their families strengthens our communities and actually helps business by fostering increased economic activity.”

Community labor leader and Bayonne’s Third Ward Council Member Ray Greaves said the resolution would be a win-win for the city, providing some relief to families struggling to make ends meet and encouraging greater consumer spending.

Tony Stoebling, owner and chef of Buon Appetito at 906 Broadway, said he supports the hike and described paying someone the current minimum wage for hard work as an “insult,” noting that it is very difficult to live off such a small income. He added that paying a low wage often reduces employees’ reliability and quality of work.

“If you pay someone minimum wage you get minimum wage help,” he said. “In my business, that’s no good.”

Jeff Gural, real estate mogul and owner of Winners Bayonne, agreed, saying it’s “ridiculous” to expect someone to work a full 40-hour week to bring home only around $200 after taxes.

But Francis Scklarski, owner of Amici’s Fine Dining at 184 Broadway, says that if the resolution passes, his business and others in Bayonne will suffer from having less money for payroll, effectively shrinking the work force through layoffs and a reduced likelihood for new hires.

“By raising the minimum wage, you’re kind of strangling the smaller business owners that need that labor force,” he said. “When you cut the funding of small business, there’s less for payroll.”

Bernie Golomb, Bayonne Town Center executive director and owner of Aaron’s Gold at 520 Broadway, said the hike would force entrepreneurs to spend more money paying and training entry-level workers. “People passing these laws have no clue about business. Not the slightest,” he added.
Original article

Do you like this post?