New Jersey

NJ voters to decide whether to raise state's minimum wage

NJ voters to decide whether to raise state's minimum wage

PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. - New Jersey voters will have the chance Tuesday to decide whether to raise the state's minimum wage.

A question on the ballot would increase New Jersey's minimum wage by $1 to $8.25 an hour. It would also include annual cost-of-living adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index.

"It should at least be increased with inflation so people can keep up and pay their bills," said Gary Taborelli, who owns Father and Son Discount Mattress in Phillipsburg, N.J. "The people I pay, they get minimum wage plus commission, and I think it would benefit the families and the children for an increase."

Mayor Sal Panto, D-Easton, Pa., weighed in on the issue.

"I think this is a double edge sword for Easton being a border city," he said. "Our people can go over there and make a little bit more money and their business can come here and save money."

Keith Brown, of Easton, is currently looking for work. He said he would be willing to job search in New Jersey if it meant getting paid more than in Pennsylvania.

"My family lives in New Jersey, so I could just stay there throughout the week," said Brown.

Some people, however, fear a minimum wage increase would hurt small businesses.

"There are many small business who are debating on whether or not they can add full-time people because of the health care issue. If they have to pay more for minimum wage, it doesn't stop with them paying more for minimum wage," said Betty Schultheis, chairwoman of the board of directors of the Warren County Regional Chamber of Commerce. "It takes everybody's wages up a notch which is extremely expensive to a small business."

"It just is a real struggle right now. Things are just starting to pick up a little and now it seems like on every front small businesses are being assailed with new expenses," added Schultheis. "What you have to do is raise the prices of your goods and that means that you're going to be less likely to be successful."

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Allentown, PA 18102




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