The fight for $15 (or less): How four plans compare, contrast

Dec 12, 2018 at 6:55 am

The fight for a $15 minimum wage is heating up, with two bills being introduced in the past week, ahead of a planned meeting between Gov. Phil Murphy, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Stephen Sweeney on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Ocean Twp.)  introduced a new bill, while Assembly Republicans re-shared a version from September. Last week, Coughlin (D-Woodbridge) posted a bill that received a positive response from Sweeney (D-West Deptford). Earlier this year, the governor laid out his own vision.

Coughlin told ROI-NJ that, while he had not seen Gopal’s bill, he would review it.

“I look forward to meeting with the governor and Senate president on Thursday to discuss the issue of minimum wage, among other topics,” he said. “I am continuing to work on the minimum wage bill I have introduced, while building consensus with the members of my caucus to produce the most responsible and strongest bill possible.”

Here are the different versions of what a $15 minimum wage could look like (or in some cases, a less-than-$15 minimum wage):

Coughlin’s bill

  • Ultimate goal: $15 minimum wage by 2024
  • Goal for 2019: $9.55 (by mid-year)
  • Carveouts: For farm, seasonal workers, small businesses (fewer than 10 people)
  • Study: Nothing planned

Gopal’s bill

  • Ultimate goal: $12 minimum wage by 2021
  • Goal for 2019: $10.10
  • Carveouts: For farm, seasonal workers, small businesses (fewer than 25 employees and provide health benefits)
  • Study: Calls for study to be done every year to gauge impact on businesses

Assembly Republicans’ bill

  • Ultimate goal: $13 minimum wage
  • Goal for 2019: $9
  • Carveouts: For farm, seasonal workers
  • Study: None planned

Murphy’s plan

  • Ultimate goal: $15
  • Goal for 2019: $11
  • Carveouts: For farm workers, seasonal employees
  • Study: Calls for a study on impact on business after the minimum wage hits $12.50

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