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Voters approve constitutional amendment to raise minimum wage

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By over 20 percentage points, New Jersey voters gave the thumbs-up Tuesday to a ballot question constitutional amendment raising the minimum wage by $1 to $8.25 and tying future increases to the consumer price index.

Over 60 percent of voters voted 'yes' on the measure, besting the 39 percent which opposed it.

In the months leading up to Tuesday, business groups had pressed hard to defeat the wage hike, stressing that it will hurt small businesses and force employers to reduce hours and cut jobs.

Gordon MacInnes, president of liberal think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective, applauded the increase Tuesday night, saying that tying future increases to the consumer price index "will prevent the wage floor's real value from eroding over time as it has in the past and it will ensure that New Jersey's low-wage workers don't fall even further behind."

"New Jersey's voters should be thanked tonight for understanding that the state's low-wage workers need more than $7.25 an hour to survive in this high-cost state," MacInnes said in a statement. "Increasing New Jersey's minimum wage will give nearly half a million working New Jerseyans a crucial leg up while pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the state's economy."

Conservative group Americans for Prosperity also chimed in on the vote, noting that the "very New Jersey workers this aims to help, teenagers and low-skilled workers in particular, will be the ones hurt the most in the way of lost jobs and opportunity."

"Unfortunately, many have been led to believe that raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do and have been swayed by what amounts to feel-good politics," state director Daryn Iwicki said in a statement. "After all, who doesn't want fellow citizens to have a little more in their pockets? But feel-good politics will not lead to feel-good results."

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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