By Matt Rooney
If you made me pick a “top” reason why New Jersey is trending blue? And the limited government/pro-taxpaer resistance is on life support?
The Garden State’s big business groups continue to align themselves with the Democrat majority, primarily so that the “insiders” leading these groups can preserve their ever-shrinking influence in Trenton’s halls of power. New Jersey’s Chamber of Commerce and its leader Tom Bracken are prime offenders but they’re not alone. And when the people with the money aren’t willing to fight to rescue what every outside group ranks as America’s worst business climate? Good luck.
Exhibit A: I read a positively ridiculous op-ed over at ROI-NJ on Friday morning penned by Mr. Steven Jomides, the CEO of Westwood-based Lawns by Yorkshire. It’s a successful company (they’ve done work for the Nets, New Jersey Devils, and the Prudential Center). Jomides also donated $4,300.00 to Murphy’s 2017 gubernatorial campaign so go ahead and factor that into your analysis.
In any event, Jomides’s op-ed — “I’m a CEO. I support the $15 minimum wage” — was clearly intended to boost the ongoing minimum wage push which appears unlikely to reach its end goal in 2018 due to Democrat infighting. But when you read the actual op-ed, Save Jerseyans, you walk away thinking “how don’t these business guys get so far without understanding basic market economics?”
Here’s where I want to draw your attention:
“Recently, I was in a meeting where several of my fellow business owners were expressing concern about this soon-to-be mandate. I made the point that we need to be honest about entry-level wages, which in my business are $13 to $14 already, so it’s not much of a stretch to bump it to $15. In supermarkets and warehousing, I see ads offering a starting wage of $15. The $15 is happening because of market forces, and fighting it doesn’t seem right.”
We’re not fighting market forces, Mr. Jomides. By your own admission!
We’re fighting government forces (led by Governor Murphy) MANDATING a minimum wage which you concede is happening anyway… not because of government regs or CEO altruism but good old fashioned market forces. If your company can absorb $15 without any significant impact on your competitiveness? More power to you. You’re responding to the market forces at play in your specific industry. As the author also notes in his op-ed, the labor market is tight generally so wages are rising WITHOUT the government’s interference. On the other hand, we KNOW that most of those earning the minimum wage aren’t full time career employees; they’re kids and young adults who are either part-time or not staying on the minimum wage for very long. So as we’ve seen in Seattle, while some minimum wage-or-worse workers may see a boost, plenty of the most vulnerable/new workers will see less hours or discover “not hiring” signs as employers cut back or, in some cases, replace them with automated alternatives.
I’d like to promise you that we can save New Jersey, folks. It’s in our damn title!
But until New Jersey’s business class joins the fight in significant numbers, and begins demanding AFFORDABILITY for employers and employees alike from Trenton as opposed to (at best) cosmetic measures in a vain attempt to mask the pain, then throwing the socialists and crooks out of Trenton is always going to be a perilously uphill battle.