SWEENEY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT RESOLUTION RAISING MINIMUM WAGE CLEARS ASSEMBLY

Initiative Will Be Placed on Ballot in 2013

TRENTON – A Senate resolution sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D – Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland) that would call for a constitutional amendment to raise the state’s minimum wage and tie further increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) cleared the full Assembly today. The initiative will now be placed on the 2013 ballot for voter approval.

“The people of New Jersey clearly support a raise in the minimum wage and I look forward to them overwhelmingly approving this ballot question in November,” said Sweeney. “They will pick up the ball where Governor Christie dropped it. As President Obama noted in his State of the Union address, we have to do something for working people in this country who are struggling to make ends meet. Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do, and by tying future increases to the CPI, we are removing politics and politicians from this process once and for all.”

Under the resolution, the state’s minimum wage would be increased from the current rate of $7.25 an hour to $8.25 an hour beginning January 1, 2014. After that, any increase in the minimum wage would be indexed to the annual CPI. Voters will get to decide the issue this November.

According to the Office of Legislative Services, ten states, representing 21% of the nation’s workforce, have indexed their minimum wage to changes in the CPI: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Missouri, Montana, Vermont, and Washington. Every one of those states, except Vermont, adopted an indexed minimum wage by ballot initiative.

As of January 1, 2013, 19 states have set minimum wages above the federal minimum of $7.25. These 19 states are listed here with the ten states among them which have indexed minimum wages bolded and italicized: Washington, $9.19; Oregon, $8.95; Vermont, $8.60; Nevada, Illinois and Connecticut, $8.25; California and Massachusetts, $8.00; Ohio, $7.85; Arizona and Montana, $7.80; Florida, $7.79; Colorado, $7.78; Alaska and Rhode Island, $7.75; Maine and New Mexico, $7.50; Michigan, $7.40; and Missouri, $7.35.

In order to be placed on the November, 2013 ballot, the resolution, SCR1, had to pass both houses of the Legislature in 2012 and 2013. SCR1 was approved by both houses in 2012.

"I’m an undertaker by trade, so when I bury somebody, they don’t come back."
—Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato