TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R-Sussex) released the following statement opposing the minimum wage deal between Governor Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.
“This compromise is evidence that the governor and Democrat legislative leadership have no sense of reality on what small businesses can pay. Raising the minimum wage still isn’t enough to afford the high-cost state their tax-and-spend policies have created, and there is no way small businesses will be able to handle the increased labor costs.
“Democrat leadership is out of touch with the damage they are doing to the economy and are pandering to a base that doesn’t understand how to run a business or basic economics. No matter how many times Democrats say they want to make New Jersey more affordable, the actions they take are the complete opposite of what they say.
“I proposed a plan that would bring up take-home pay commensurate with a fifteen-dollar minimum wage without forcing small businesses to take on the entire cost. It is a win-win compromise that would help small business owners and workers, and accomplishes the goals of both parties. Instead, the people of this state and the state economy will suffer as Democrat leadership keeps us on a partisan, self-destructive economic path.”
Wirths, a former labor commissioner and small business owner, proposed a minimum wage package last year that would increase the minimum wage to $13 an hour and double the earned income tax credit to 80 percent, essentially raising take-home pay for workers commensurate with a $15 minimum wage. The plan also would double the deduction for compensation paid to help small businesses afford the increased labor costs.
Wirths plan also would freeze the minimum wage increase for 18 months if there is a recession to let the economy and small businesses recover. His plan is the only proposal that takes into account economic conditions.