TRENTON – New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech issued the following statement concerning the Governor’s conditional veto of legislation (A-2162) that seeks to increase the minimum wage and includes an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA). “The New Jersey State AFL-CIO believes raising the minimum wage and including a COLA is a crucial first step to helping low-income workers in this difficult economic climate combat growing income inequality and address rising poverty rates in our state,” said Wowkanech. “It is unacceptable to allow any more New Jersey families to fall into poverty because of political divisions regarding the minimum wage. Therefore, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO will aggressively support the initiative to place a minimum wage question on the 2013 ballot and win voter approval for a cost of living adjustment which provides much needed stability to working families’ budgets,” stated Wowkanech. “On an issue of such great importance to our state, it’s time to let the voters decide.” “While the Governor expressed concern for how the minimum wage impacts the budgets of businesses, his conditional veto of the cost of living adjustment showed his lack of his concern for low-income workers, who continue to see their budgets eroded year after year by rising costs. The COLA is a permanent fix for calculating our state’s minimum wage and ensures that worker salaries are not dependent on the volatility of our political environment,” said Wowkanech. A Quinnipiac University poll issued on January 24, 2013, showed broad, bipartisan support for increasing the minimum wage. Voters support the policy 82% to 16%. Those numbers include 67% support among Republicans.