Letter: Business can afford N.J. minimum wage hike

To the Editor:

I find the claim that raising the minimum wage would hurt employment quite laughable.

The minimum wage in New Jersey is $7.25, the same as the federal minimum. (New Jersey voters have a ballot question Nov. 5 that would raise the minimum to $8.25.)

The minimum has been at $7.25 for the last eight years. That means that over this period, New Jersey businesses have increased their profit margins at the expense of minimum-wage workers who have not been compensated for inflation. And now, these same businesses are claiming they can’t afford to pay $1 an hour more to their employees? If businesses could pay $7.25 an hour at 2005 price levels, they are perfectly able to employ people at $8.25 an hour in 2013.

Businesses would not be impacted too much by this raise, but New Jersey’s working-class families would benefit greatly. Thanks to state Sen. Stephen Sweeney and the Legislature for putting this issue on the ballot. Now we will get to decide for ourselves.

For the thousands of people working full time at minimum wage in the state, this increase would mean about $2,000 more at the end of the year. The impact would actually be positive for New Jersey business. This money would not go to retirement funds or in a bank account. It would help families survive and put food on the table, and therefore would return directly to the economy.

Voters should remember this in November.

Florence Cook

Mullica Hill

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