“This constitutional amendment increases New Jersey’s hourly minimum wage to $8.25 and then makes annual adjustments based on any increase in the consumer price index (CPI).”

NJEA supports SCR-1 (Sweeney/Turner)/ACR-168 (Oliver/Eustace/Spencer).  Upon voter approval, this constitutional amendment would increase New Jersey’s hourly minimum wage rate to $8.25 and then makes annual adjustments to the minimum wage rate based on any increase in the consumer price index (CPI).NJEA supports SCR-1because:

  • 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, a family of four (two adults, two children) earning less than $21,834 annually is below the poverty line.)
  • According to data collected by New Jersey Legal Services in 2010, almost one-quarter of New Jersey residents are living in households with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line.
  • 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 SCR-1.