Obsequious Trump-toad Chris Christie has vetoed a bill that would raise New Jersey’s minimum wage to at least $15 within the next five years, warning against “the heavy hand of government” weighing too heavily on small businesses.
The Democratic-controlled state legislature passed the measure in June, and intends to pass a constitutional amendment that would raise the minimum wage without needing gubernatorial approval. Last summer, when Christie still thought he had a chance at president, he indicated that he might be open to raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour, after vetoing a minimum wage bill in 2013. Legislators circumvented that veto by putting a $1 raise on the ballot later that year, which voters passed with 61 percent approval. The minimum wage in New Jersey is currently $8.38.
The governor announced this year’s veto during an appearance at a grocery store in Pennington on Tuesday. New Jersey Advance reports:
Christie argued more employees would be replaced by automated kiosks at small businesses if the state continues to hike its minimum wage.
“That’s the way of the future if we continue to do this really radical increase with the minimum wage,” Christie said.
“All of this sounds great, raising the minimum wage, when you’re spending someone else’s money,” he said. “It should bother you because when you come into Pennington Quality Market your food is going to be more expensive.”
A liberal think tank based in Trenton, New Jersey Policy Perspective, has estimated that 975,000 people would benefit from the increase.
The fight to secure a minimum wage of $15 an hour “is about much more than just a pay raise,” Analilia Mejia, director of the New Jersey Working Families Party and leader of the Raise New Jersey coalition, said in a statement provided to Jezebel.
“The proposed legislation would have increased the economic stability and purchasing power of 1 in 4 NJ workers. The Governor’s actions have only served to temporarily thwart a unified effort to raise New Jersey families and provide a much needed boost to our economy.” Most legislators who support the increase have promised to push for the issue to be added to the ballot in 2013, including Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.
Asked by telephone whether she has been operating under the assumption that Christie would veto any minimum wage legislation, Mejia said: “Frankly, yes.”
“From the beginning, we’ve been operating with the full expectation that we’re going to take this to the ballot—and have been asking legislators to be ready for that,” she continued. “We’re going to let workers vote to give themselves this raise.”