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State Sen. Michael Testa.

Testa raises alarm over minimum wage increase

Minimum wage rose to $11 per hour on Jan. 1

By Nikita Biryukov, January 02 2020 1:37 pm

State Sen. Michael Testa raised alarms about minimum wage increases in the state, saying hikes to floor pay for seasonal workers could harm New Jersey’s shore economy.

“This increase comes at a significant risk,” Testa said. “Higher business expenses will result in higher prices for consumers, but the news can be even worse for employees. Mandatory hikes to minimum wage have been linked to reduced hours and job opportunities for low-skilled workers. The people who least can afford it will be hurt the most.”

On Wednesday, the state’s minimum wage rose by $1, from $10 to $11 per hour.

Minimum wage for seasonal workers and for workers at businesses with five or fewer employees rose to $8.35 to $10.30.

The minimum wage is set to reach $15 per hour by 2024, though seasonal workers and those at businesses with five or fewer employees won’t hit $15 per hour until 2026, and farmworkers won’t see their pay rise to that level until 2027, at the earliest.

“To stay in business, many of these important local operations will have no choice but to cut staff, reduce benefits, and consider investing in job-killing automation. That is the reality,” Testa said. “The radical jump in salary will place pressure on shore towns to increase taxes.”

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