By. John Tredrea
LAMBERTVILLE — The City Council has passed a resolution urging voters to say “yes” to Ballot Question No. 2, which proposes raising the state’s minimum wage $1 an hour and allowing for cost of living increases in that wage, in the Nov. 5 general election.
”Our state’s minimum wage has not kept pace with reality, and it’s a sad statement when someone working a 40-hour week at a minimum wage job still makes below the poverty line,” said Mayor David DelVecchio. “It’s a simple matter of fairness. An increase in the minimum wage will not only help thousands of people provide for themselves, it will have a positive ripple effect throughout the economy.”
Question 2 would amend the state constitution to raise the minimum wage in the state from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour. New Jersey last increased its minimum wage in 2005.
”Raising the minimum wage would be a win-win for workers and their community,” said Mr. DelVecchio. “With wage increases comes an increase in economic activity. There are families who are going to spend their income to provide for their families, spurring growth. We strongly urge all Lambertville residents to vote yes on Question 2.”
The resolution states that “the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank conducted a study in 2011 that estimates that, for every dollar increase in the minimum wage, there is $2,800 in new consumer spending by that household the following year; this revenue is injected into the local economy which translates into greater consumer demand for local goods and services, thereby requiring employers to hire additional workers to meet this demand which translates into job creation.”
In drafting the resolution that was passed unanimously by the City Council Sept. 24, the mayor conferred with Working Families United for New Jersey’s “Raise the Wage” campaign, which has more than 250 member organizations representing labor, religious, community, civil rights, student, women’s’, and retirees’ groups, whose goal is to see that New Jersey’s minimum wage ballot initiative passes.Under the ballot question, the minimum wage could be increased to reflect increases in the Consumer Price Index. The resolution passed by the council notes that “10 states provide for the annual adjustment of their minimum wage to ensure that the real value of the lowest-paid workers’ wages does not shrink as normal costs of living goes up.”
The measure says that, “ according to New Jersey Policy Perspective, 429,000 workers in New Jersey earn at or near the minimum wage; more than 350,000 are over the age of 20; 250,000 are women;79,000 are men; 154,000 are Hispanic; 69,000 are black; and 31,000 are Asian.”
The federal minimum wage law was signed by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1938. The state legislature voted to put Question 2 on the ballot after Governor Christie vetoed a minimum wage increase bill.