New Year’s Day will bring good tidings indeed for the roughly 2.5 million low-income American workers who will see their hourly pay climb.
What a difference a dollar makes – that's what some are saying after New Jersey's minimum wage increase went into effect on Wednesday, giving a quarter million low–wage workers in the garden state a raise to $8.25. It was a controversial question asked of voters in November, but the majority ruled, and New Jersey became one of 13 states to raise the minimum wage on January 1, 2014. The local residents I spoke to about the one dollar increase say it helps.
"I’m pretty happy they increased the minimum wage" says Andrew Pacentrilli of Egg Harbor Township. "Even though it's only up in New Jersey just a little bit, it still makes a difference."
Debbie Ferguson of Northfield says, "With the economy situation, things are tough, every little bit helps."
According to Carluccio’s Coal Fired Pizza manager Chris Fahy "it's good and bad in the aspect that the employee will have more money in their paycheck each week to go out and spend, which can help the economy. But on the other hand the small business owner will be seeing more payroll taxes and out of pocket expenses with the increase that's implemented."
Opponents of the minimum wage increase say it could hurt the state's economy, meaning that the strain put on small business owners can lead to cutbacks in hours and even job losses.
"It could result in a trickle down effect, where there might be some price increase and so fourth, which no one likes to do to make up for the difference that we would payout the employees" says Fahy.
This is the state's first minimum wage increase since 2009. The New Jersey constitutional amendment also guarantees future minimum wage hikes to the lowest paid workers as the cost of living rises.
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