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State wage efforts need adjustment


Editorial

With increasing debate over the proposed minimum wage bill in the state legislature, Gov. Chris Christie is flexing his political guns in stopping a change that he feels isn’t in the state’s best interest. Because of his belief that the economy isn’t strong enough to handle the Democrats’ proposed $1.00 wage increase, he’s instead suggested that attention be paid to the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is aimed at the working poor. The catch? He has already slashed funding to the tax credit program, and his “compromise” is that he reinstates the money back to the program so long as his changes to the bill are agreed upon.

Clearly, state politics are holding hostage programs that could otherwise be benefiting hardworking New Jersey citizens. It seems that Christie wants to push back to a moderate stance ahead of gubernatorial elections — however, doing so clearly distracts from the real issues at hand. Part of Christie’s rejection of the bill also includes lack of support for an amendment to have automatic minimum wage increases according to the Consumer Price Index. This seems like a much better and more viable approach than having a blanket wage increase, as it instinctively readjusts minimum wage to the behavior of the economy. Doing so ensures that wages keep up the pace with the economy.

Unfortunately, the legislature’s lack of ability to reach a fair and proper compromise on this political issue — which warrants its deliberation on a state level — will lead to its placement on the referendum during the November elections, leaving it up to the people of New Jersey to decide if they’d like minimum wage to be raised from $7.25 to $8.25. Such a staggering proposal seems too drastic of a change, and whether or not the economy will be able to handle it is a justifiable concern.


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