ROSELLE—The Roselle Borough Council passed a resolution this week urging voters to support a ballot question to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage and allow for an annual cost-of-living adjustment.
The public question will appear on the Nov. 5 general election ballot. If passed, it will raise the state’s minimum wage to $8.25, up from $7.25, on Jan. 1, 2014 and tie future annual increases to a local Consumer Price Index every January 1.
“This increase would directly affect 241,000 workers currently making between $7.25 and $8.25 per hour,” said Roselle Mayor Jamel C. Holley. “The gap is almost $1,000 per year for pressing needs like food, rent, clothing and other essential household items.”
Statewide, there are 188,000 additional workers making between $8.25 and $9.25 who would be indirectly affected because their wages would increase as pay scales are adjusted upwards.
“All told, that’s 11 percent of New Jersey’s workforce that will benefit from the passage of Ballot Question #2,” Holley said. “This is not only the right move socially, but also for New Jersey’s economy, which would benefit from anticipated increases in our GDP and from job creation.”
There are 429,000 workers in New Jersey who 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 resolution passed in Roselle cited a 2011 study from the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank that estimates that for every $1 increase in the minimum wage, there is $2,800 in new consumer spending by that household the following year.
“That revenue is injected into the local economy, causing greater consumer demand for local goods and services,” said Roselle Councilwoman-at-Large Christine Dansereau. “This increase would spell good news for Roselle.”
Proponents of the measure at Wednesday night’s hearing said it would spur employers to hire additional workers to meet this demand, resulting in job creation in Roselle.
Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc., a nonprofit advocacy group, worked with Roselle to craft the resolution as part of its “Raise the Wage” campaign. The effort has more than 250 member organizations, comprising labor, religious, community, civil rights, student, women, and retirees groups dedicated to ensuring that New Jersey’s minimum wage ballot initiative passes Nov. 5.
To view a list of the participating organizations and for more information, visit www.raisethewagenj.org.