June 17, 2019 | 78° F

NJ approves wage hike, veteran funding question

Sixty-one percent of New Jerseyans voted to raise the minimum wage yesterday from $7.25 to $8.25, according to The Associated Press.

New Jersey has also overwhelmingly voted yes to the second ballot question allowing veteran organizations to use games of chance to raise funds for building upkeep. The vote was 82 percent yes to 18 percent no at press time, according to The Associated Press.

Ramon Becerra, who works at N.J. Worker’s Voices, said the raise to the minimum wage was long overdue.

“It was the right thing for voters to do,” he said. “I hope we can take this motto and apply it to all over the country.”

He said in Newark alone, N.J. Worker’s Voices put out around 350,000 flyers, knocked on around 85,000 doors and made around 75,000 phone calls.

He said nearly 7 million flyers were distributed in the whole state.

“We believe the message has saturated all over the state,” he said. “You build a machine and let the machine do the work.”

The approved ballot question will take effect in January and will amend the state Constitution to tie future increases to inflation, according to The Star-Ledger.

The other amendment to the Constitution will permit veteran organizations to invite recognized members of the community to play games of chance at their events.

The money raised at these events will be used to finance veteran organization expenses such as roof repairs, rent and building utilities.

Stephen Abel, director of Veteran and Military Programs and Services at Rutgers, said that he would like to see a percentage of the money raised go to other organizations in the community, such as local children’s sports teams or charities.  

Danielle Gonzalez contributed to this story.

By Julian Chokkattu

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