Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) took to Middlesex County on Thursday to launch a statewide tour highlighting the impact that raising the minimum wage has had on New Jersey’s workers.Last year, Sweeney was the prime sponsor of a bill that placed a constitutional amendment on the ballot to raise the state’s minimum wage $1, from $7.25 to $8.25, and tie future increases to the consumer price index. Voters approved the measure on Election Day and the hike went into effect Jan. 1.
Business groups, which adamantly opposed the measure, formed a coalition and launched a statewide campaign aimed at striking it down but were unsuccessful in their efforts.
On Thursday, Sweeney made stops at Foodtown in New Brunswick and Sahil Clothing in Iselin, meeting with employees and local and state officials at each location.
CLICK HERE to subscribe to the NJBIZ email newsletter
“Time and again, increasing the minimum wage has shown the positive impacts of giving a boost to working people,” Sweeney said. “Rather than simply give tax breaks to the so-called ‘job creators,’ we need to be investing more in the working poor and middle class. That money gets put right back into the economy, benefiting local businesses and communities.”
Sweeney, who spoke on the issue recently at an event held at the White House, also called on national Republicans to support President Barack Obama’s recent call for a $10.10 federal minimum wage. He compared the battle between the two sides to Gov. Chris Christie’s opposition in New Jersey to the Democrats’ push for an increase in the Legislature.
“We are seeing the same kind of fight nationally that we did in New Jersey,” Sweeney said. “Republicans are blocking progress based on debunked conservative theory. We know that raising wages for the working poor has a positive impact for our towns and businesses. It’s time for those right-wing members of Congress to get behind working people in this country and support President Obama’s call for raising the federal minimum wage.”
Sweeney plans on making more stops along the minimum wage tour, with future dates and locations yet to be announced.
ALSO ON NJBIZ:
Springsteen gives Pa. charity year’s biggest hit
Affordable Care Act prompts hospital’s $100 million campaign
Developers mark milestone at Newark’s RockPlaza Lofts