Murphy Wants to Give Low-Wage Workers a Holiday Gift: $15 Minimum Wage

NJTV News | November 27, 2018 | Politics
Governor has backing of Democratic lawmakers to goose hourly minimum in 2018’s last legislative session

When Gov. Phil Murphy made a pitch yesterday to raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour, he was preaching in large part to the choir.

There’s one more voting session for the Legislature this year on December 17, the governor said, and it should pass a $15 minimum wage bill then.

“I think, with all due respect, if we really want to give our working families a boost and make forward-thinking employers … the example and not the exception, then let’s hope both our holiday wish and the Legislature’s December 17 board list include putting New Jersey on a responsible and certain path to a $15 an hour minimum wage,” Murphy said.

One of those “forward-thinking employers” is Ron Rivers, the head of a company that sells beer- and wine-making supplies and already pays a $15 minimum wage.

The current minimum wage is $8.60 cents an hour. It rises to $8.85 January 1.

Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake spoke from firsthand experience about how tough it is to get by earning the minimum.

“It wasn’t just a few years ago that I was working for around $9 an hour as a baker and taking four buses to work and still not being able to make ends meet,” she said, adding that
$8.60 an hour is $1,490 a month before taxes.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin published an Op-Ed this weekend saying he’ll work with Murphy to get a bill done. Yesterday he said the Assembly is in the final stages of crafting legislation.

Senate President Steve Sweeney tweaked Murphy, saying, “This is no time for staged rallies and dueling news conferences,” but said he’s on board with the wage increase.

When Murphy opened it up to questions, reporters asked whether he favors the new legislative redistricting plan put forward last week by Democratic leaders.

“Yeah, I’m not a buyer of it,” Murphy said, indicating for the first time that he’s against the plan.

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