I read with disappointment New Jersey Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Tom Bracken’s op-ed about the minimum wage ballot question (“Automatic raises in minimum wage hurt N.J.,” Sept. 18).
In New Jersey, the Legislature last voted to increase the minimum wage in 2005 from $5.15 to $7.15 an hour, with a two-step process occurring in 2006 and 2007. Nineteen states have passed minimum wage increases since 2005. When Congress raised the minimum wage in 2009, New Jersey’s increased by a dime to meet the federal minimum.
Despite a cost of living 30 percent higher than the national average, New Jersey is tied for lowest minimum wage in the nation. A 2011 Chicago Federal Reserve Bank study estimates that for every dollar increase in the minimum wage, there is $2,800 in new consumer spending by that household the following year.
Workers need be thought of for a pay increase every year, as the cost of goods and services increases. They cannot be thought of only when the Legislature gets around to it once every decade or so.
Charles N. Hall Jr., chairman, Working Families United for New Jersey