TRENTON, NJ (CBSNewYork) – The New Jersey Assembly’s labor committee has voted to advance a bill raising the state minimum wage to $8.50 an hour.
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After about two hours of testimony, the vote was 6-2-1 to advance the bill. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said she plans on working with Gov. Chris Christie and other lawmakers to get the bill signed into law.
The current minimum wage in the Garden State is $7.25 an hour and some business owners have said the current economy would make it difficult to absorb a 17 percent minimum wage increase.
Christie said he’s on the fence about the bill.
“There are some things about the issue that give me concern, about its potential for having people lose jobs or reduce hours. There’s other things about it that make me think, maybe it’s time to raise it. My mind is not set on the issue,” Christie said on Wednesday.
He said Democratic legislative leaders have not yet come to him for support or to work out details, saying he wants that before signing on.
“Nothing’s going to happen until we sit down at the table and we talk about it in the context of everything else that we want to get accomplished in the next four months ’cause I have a say in this, too,” he said.
While he says he wouldn’t rule out signing the bill without prior discussion with legislative leaders, he said “I would be less likely to sign something like that because it wouldn’t have any input from me.”
He noted that his support could get Republicans on board.
The bill calls for the increase to go into effect on July 1.
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