With Democrats about to take full control in January, Republicans in the New Jersey legislature know that a higher minimum wage is not far off.
The top Republican in the state senate now wants to make sure that Democrats don’t go too far.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean says the issue of affordability is the greatest challenge confronting New Jersey lawmakers and he’s calling for a bipartisan compromise.
“Let’s work together to build a legislative package that raises the minimum wage to a level that is modern and fair and also reduces the income tax for the struggling middle class.”
Senate President Steve Sweeney calls Kean’s proposal a political stunt.
“We’re going ahead with the minimum wage regardless. We’ve already made that decision. The only reason why we didn’t increase the minimum wage last time was because Governor Christie vetoed it. Governor Murphy will sign it.”
Governor-elect Phil Murphy supports gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Senator Kean believes that’s too much.
“It should certainly be less than 15 because that would drive many businesses and employees out of work.”
Sweeney says Democrats also want to pass a millionaires’ tax, but Kean says that would put New Jersey at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring states.