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September 11, 2013

Surveys of the general public show overwhelming support for an increase in the state minimum wage, but a recent survey of business leaders by the state Chamber of Commerce indicates that 71 percent believe approval of a ballot question that includes a minimum wage increase, tied to the consumer price index, in the state constitution would adversely affect the state’s ability to retain and attract businesses.

For the most part, however, respondents seemed to be projecting what the impact would be on businesses other than their own. When asked what approval of the ballot question would do to their own business, 47 percent said it would have no effect or have a slight positive impact on their business. When asked about how it would impact their own plans to hire, 55 percent said it would either have no effect or be slightly positive for their plans.

The survey gave respondents the choice between Gov. Chris Christie’s approach to the minimum wage, which would raise the minimum wage $1 to $8.25 an hour over the span of three years, to the Democratic approach, which calls for an immediate $1 increase, plus it would tie the minimum wage to the rise in the Consumer Price Index. Given that choice, 73 percent chose Christie’s approach. A majority of respondents (76 percent) said that strategy would either have a better effect or no effect on their own businesses or plans to hire. An overwhelming majority, 84 percent, said the state constitution was not the appropriate venue to approve public policy.

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