New Jersey Chamber of Commerce president Tom Bracken doesn't predict the sky will fall on Wednesday when the state's new minimum wage increase goes into effect, but he says that doesn't mean employers shouldn't be aware of what to expect in the near future.
"Their costs are going up," Bracken says of employers.
As of Jan. 1, the state's minimum wage will be set at $8.25, representing an increase of $1 from the previous $7.25 mark. On Election Day, voters opted for the hike through a constitutional amendment which will tie all future increases to the consumer price index.
A coalition of business groups, of which the Chamber was a part, rallied against the proposal unsuccessfully, citing the potential for higher costs to employers.
Bracken said while the effects of the minimum wage increase will be "felt over time," it's hard to find a scenario where employers won't bear the burden of increased costs.
"There's not much mystery to this," Bracken said. "It's pretty cut and dry."
But what's potentially more damaging, Bracken says, is the precedent proponents of the measure set by opting to amend the constitution rather than deal with the matter legislatively.
"The real immediate danger is the Legislature's attraction to putting things on the ballot to include in our constitution," Bracken said.
Doing so is essentially a disservice to the people, he said, as complicated matters are put forward with little explanation.
"When you put something on the ballot, it isn't well articulated and people vote on things that they have minimal knowledge about," Bracken said.
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