Business

Small Business Group Warns N.J. Minimum Wage Hike ‘Not A Positive Thing’

Voters Approved Ballot Measure On Tuesday
A woman arrives to vote at a polling center in the Mendham Township Fire Department on Nov. 5, 2013 in Mendham, New Jersey. (credit: Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

A woman arrives to vote at a polling center in the Mendham Township Fire Department on Nov. 5, 2013 in Mendham, New Jersey. (credit: Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Some small business advocates are sounding the alarm about New Jersey’s minimum wage hike just approved by voters.

As of Jan. 1, 2014, workers making minimum wage will earn $8.25 an hour, $1 more than they do currently.

“That’s going to result in pressure on small business owners to make cuts somewhere else and that’s probably going to come in the form of layoffs,” Jack Mozloom, spokesman for the state office for the National Federation of Independent Business, told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney. “It’s not going to be good.”

Mozloom said if not layoffs, small businesses could cut employee benefits or drive up prices to make up the difference.

The NFIB’s economists predict tens of thousands of job losses in the state, Mozloom said.

“And most of those jobs lost will disappear from the small business sector,” he told Putney. “This is not a positive thing for New Jersey.”

The ballot measure approved on Tuesday also gives minimum wage workers an automatic annual cost-of-living increase.

The amendment makes New Jersey, one of the nation’s highest-income and most expensive places to live, the 11th state to provide automatic cost-of-living increases and gives it one of the nation’s 10 highest minimum wage rates.

It was on Tuesday’s ballot after Republican Gov. Chris Christie earlier this year vetoed a bill to hike the minimum wage and start annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index, which measures how much consumers pay for goods and services.

Rather than accept Christie’s alternative of a gradual phase-in of a minimum wage increase and no inflation increase, the Democrats who control the state Legislature decided to take the question to voters.

The minimum wage was backed by labor groups and liberal organizations.

“New Jersey sent a message to the rest of the country: Working poor should be a contradiction in terms,” Kevin Brown, New Jersey Director of the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ, said in a statement.

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