10 things to know about New Jersey

10 things to know about New Jersey

Sure, New Jersey voters in November approved an increase in the state minimum wage. But what does it mean? And when will it take effect?

We answer those questions, plus eight more, to get you up to speed on how the new minimum wage affects you:

When does New Jersey minimum wage go up? The minimum wage increases to $8.25 an hour starting on Jan. 1, 2014, an increase of $1 from the current $7.25 an hour. It will then increase annually to keep pace with inflation.

How will future increases be applied? Each year at the end of the September, the increase over the previous 12 months in the consumer price index for all urban wage earners and clerical workers will be calculated. Any increase will be applied to the minimum wage, starting the following Jan. 1. For instance: If inflation is 2.5 percent between October 2013 and September 2014, the minimum wage rises to $8.46.Cheap Jerseys china

When did New Jersey last raise the minimum wage? In 2005, then Gov. signed a law that raised the minimum wage, then $5.15 an hour, to $6.15 in October 2005 and $7.15 in October 2006.

Didn you say the minimum is now $7.25? New Jersey’s minimum wage has been the federal minimum, $7.25 an hour, since July 2009. It will join 19 other states, plus the District of Columbia, with minimums higher than the national minimum.

Why was this done on the November ballot, rather than in Trenton? Gov. had vetoed a bill increasing the hourly minimum wage to $8.50 and requiring annual inflation adjustments, instead recommending a phased in increase to $8.25 without the inflation adjustments. Democrats instead put the increase on the ballot as a constitutional amendment.

How did the ballot question fare? Sixty one percent of voters approved, according to the unofficial results. Support was highest in Hudson County, 82 percent, and also above 70 percent in Camden and Essex counties. Just 44 percent voted yes in Hunterdon County, with majorities in Ocean and Warren counties also opposed.

How many states tie the minimum wage to the CPI? New Jersey becomes the 11th state to increase its minimum wage each year at the rate of inflation, the fifth along with Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Ohio to mandate it through its constitution.

Could the minimum wage increase more quickly than inflation? If Congress raises the national minimum wage which is under consideration by some Democrats, who advocate a $10.10 minimum then the annual increases would apply to the higher minimum.

How many people are affected? Advocates for the higher wage say it will affect around 429,000 New Jersey workers the roughly 49,000 paid the minimum wage, 192,000 paid between $7.26 and $8.25 hourly and 188,000 making between $8.25 and $9.25 hourly who are likely to see pay scales rise.

Is there a downside? Opponents of the higher wage contend it will cause job losses or higher prices. The Employment Policies Institute says 4,700 existing jobs will be lost, particularly for low skill and young workers. The National Federation of Independent Business projects job losses over the 10 years will amount to 13,700 if inflation is flat, 22,700 if it averages 2 percent and 31,800 if it averages 4 percent. On the flip side, advocates say increased spending by low wage earners could lead to job creation.

During the past month, Gov. has been to several states for fundraisers and he is now in Mexico on a trade mission. Do you approve of all these travels?

No. He would make a terrible president and he should stop trying to dupe people into believing in him.

No. He should stay home and focus on New Jersey’s problems.

Yes. His visits help raise the profile of New Jersey and can only help the state.

Yes. I think he would make a great president, and these visits help lay the groundwork for his candidacy.

E mail Bob is state editor for Gannett New Jersey newspapers. He has reported and edited at New Jersey newspapers from Salem County to Passaic County, writing about everything from state politics to lost pigs on the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Born in Camden County, he still speaks with a southern New Jersey accent, much to his wife’s annoyance.

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Judy M. Feeney

Judy M. Feeney is Director of Digital Initiatives for New Jersey Press Media, including the Asbury Park Press, Courier News, Home News Tribune and Daily Record.

E mail Judy M. has covered seven governors while working in Gannett’s Statehouse Bureau a stint which actually only stretches back to 2000, but the door revolves quickly in New Jersey politics.