New Jersey Governor Loses On Minimum Wage

By Mark Lagerkvist | New Jersey Watchdog

VOTERS DECIDE: Joella Bedrosian stands in a booth as she votes while the family dog, Allie, waits Tuesday in Mendham Township, N.J. Voters OK’d a minimum wage hike.
VOTERS DECIDE: Joella Bedrosian stands in a booth as she votes while the family dog, Allie, waits Tuesday in Mendham Township, N.J. Voters OK’d a minimum wage hike.

This is the one political contest Chris Christie lost in Tuesday’s election. By a 61-39 percent spread, New Jersey voters passed a constitutional amendment[1] that will raise the minimum wage for workers by a dollar an hour – from $7.25 to $8.25.[2]

“That is a stupid way to do it,” Christie told reporters during a public appearance last year. “That is not what the constitution is there for.”

Voters disagreed.  While they re-elected Christie by a large margin – 60-38 percent – the electorate turned the tables on the ballot question.

As a result, minimum wage – plus annual cost-of-living increases in perpetuity – is  cemented into the state constitution.

When a recession strikes, for example, the Legislature may be powerless to stop automatic increases until the law is changed, adjusted or repealed via another amendment.

The amendment gives lawmakers a last laugh over Christie. The governor conditionally vetoed a minimum wage bill earlier this year. As an alternative, he favored a gradual increase without any automatic yearly raises.

“The sudden, significant minimum-wage increase in this bill, coupled with automatic raises each year tied to the Unites States consumer price index, will jeopardize the economic recovery we all seek,” wrote Christie[3] in this veto message.

Unable to override Christie’s veto, lawmakers voted in two successive sessions to put the question on the ballot.

New Jersey was the only state that has a minimum wage question on its ballot this year. But what happened here may be a bellwether for the rest of the country.

At least four other states – Alaska, Missouri, New Mexico and South Dakota – are considering similar proposals in 2014. Efforts also are under way to put minimum wage measures on the ballot in Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Hawaii and Idaho, according to[4]

50 thoughts on “New Jersey Governor Loses On Minimum Wage

  1. Your right to bear arms is in the constitution also .look how well that's restricted in NJ.

  2. The Governor didn't lose a thing. He prefers ballot issues and letting the people decide. Most people don't understand the ramifications of making this a Constitutional issue. Most just thought it was a simple way to raise low end wages. That's what happens with a large block of low informed voters.

  3. To everyone who voted yes on question 2, let me give you some perspective: If I own a business with 5 minimum wage full time employees I now have to pay $200 more out in payroll each week. That's $800 per month. That a mortgage payment, car payments etc. that I can no longer make. The result-I have to either raise prices or let people go. In order to make up the $800 per month I'll price myself out of business. If I let people go, my service will suffer and customers will go elsewhere. Either way, I'm in a bad spot. So when you're kid comes home and says he/she was let go due to the minimum wage increase, have the guts to look them in the face and tell you voted yes to question 2. Point 2-a favorite response to the minimum wage debate is"You can't provide for a family on minimum wage". Well, if you're at a point where you have a family and you're STILL only making minimum wage-the pay is not the problem, the job is not the problem-YOU are the problem.

  4. This sets up a nightmare scenario. When we have stagflation (when not if) wages will be automatically increased against the will of employers while business erodes…this is going to be ugly in the future.

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