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Shore business owners star in ad to block minimum-wage hike

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A coalition of state business groups in opposition to an upcoming vote on raising the minimum wage has started airing new television and radio commercials this week across the state.

The new television spot, which can be seen on NoOn2.com, features comments from two Jersey Shore small-business owners — Bill Gehlhaus, in Keansburg, and Bobby Stewart, in Seaside Heights.

"We had two bad hits this year," Stewart says in the ad. "We had Sandy, we had the fire. This amendment would be the third bad hit. It would just devastate us."

The ballot question would increase New Jersey's minimum wage by $1, to $8.25, and tie future hikes to the consumer price index. Businesses have decried the CPI link and the Legislature's use of a constitutional amendment, instead of the legislative process, to attempt to get the increase on the books.

The ballot question "violates the intended use of the constitution, and would have a detrimental impact on our recovery and economy — including long-term negative consequences on our business competitiveness and the state's fiscal health," New Jersey Chamber of Commerce President Tom Bracken said in a statement.

As part of a larger campaign that began earlier this month, the new ads urge residents to vote against the proposal. In addition to the commercials, the coalition is now mailing out postcards and print ads, distributing lawn signs, and writing op-eds to appear in state newspapers.

The coalition is comprised of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business, New Jersey Business and Industry Association and a handful of state associations.

On the other end of the spectrum, support for minimum wage hike is also getting more vocal.

Working Families of New Jersey held a "Raise the Wage" event on Tuesday in Jersey City with the support of numerous elected officials and union leaders. Another event is planned for Friday in Asbury Park featuring U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-Long Branch).


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