“This bill increases New Jersey’s hourly minimum wage to $8.50 and then makes annual adjustments based on any increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).”

NJEA supports A-2162 (Oliver, Greenwald, Green, Johnson, Prieto, Wisniewski).  This bill increases New Jersey’s hourly minimum wage rate to $8.50 on July 1, 2012, and then makes annual adjustments to the minimum wage rate based on any increase in the CPI.

NJEA supports A-2162 because:

  • The current rate of $7.25 amounts to $15,080 a year.  This is below poverty level for a family of three, and is not nearly enough in our state to meet basic needs for food, housing, clothing and transportation. (According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty line for a family of four (two adults, two children) earns less than $21,834.)
  • Between 2009 and 2010, one million additional children in America joined the ranks of those living in poverty, bringing the 2010 total to an estimated 15.7 million poor children.
  • Children of poor families are up to six times more likely to drop out of high school than wealthy children.
  • Children from homes that experience persistent poverty are more likely to have their cognitive development affected than children in affluent homes.
  • The college completion rate drops to 25 percent for low-income students.  In today’s economy, graduating from high school college-ready and obtaining a post-secondary degree or credential can mean the difference between a lifetime of poverty and a secure economic future
  • Many employers take advantage of teenagers and students, as they may be willing to work for less in order to secure a job.  Raising the minimum wage will provide a living wage to teenagers and students who have to work to make ends meet, or to pay college tuition. 

For the reasons identified above, NJEA asks you to vote in favor of A-2162.