Republican lawmakers quickly voice opposition to $15 minimum wage

Republican state lawmakers quickly voiced their displeasure with, and opposition to, the $15 minimum wage bill Gov. Phil Murphy signed Monday.

Under the bill, the minimum wage will rise steadily, reaching $15 in 2024.

Here are comments from those opposed:

  • Sen. Steve Oroho (R-Sparta) said the increase will lead to reductions in other forms of employee compensation:

“The legislation signed by Gov. Murphy fails to recognize that most employers have a fixed budget for total compensation, which often covers the cost of wages, bonuses, health benefits, life insurance and vacation time.

“When one of those costs goes up, another cost has to be reduced. By mandating higher wages, the governor’s action is certain to lead to the elimination of bonuses, a reduction of paid time off, and higher premiums, deductibles and co-pays for health benefits for many workers.”

  • Sen. Declan O’Scanlon (R-Holmdel) said the bill will cost jobs — and impact the state’s ability to fix its financial mess.

“I serve on the bipartisan Manufacturing Caucus, and we heard from every single manufacturer that it was impossible for them to absorb this increase without losing jobs.

“A hugely important component of this discussion is the effect on our budget. With the fiscal pronouncements that we have made, including the Senate president (Stephen Sweeney) himself, how can we commit the state to a dramatic impact like the roughly half-a-billion-dollar price tag of this increase? The is inconsistent with the ‘Path to Progress’ suggestions for lower cost of government. We are digging ourselves deeper into a hole that we already don’t know how to get out of. How can we possibly look our taxpayers in the eye — already the most beleaguered in the nation — no matter how well-intentioned this might be?”

  • Assemblyman Hal Wirths (R-Sparta)  feels better options were out there:

“This is not the best bill the governor could sign, not even close. While it ignores economic realities like the inevitability of a recession, it still isn’t enough to afford the high-cost state the Democrats’ tax-and-spend policies have created. There is no way small businesses will be able to handle the increased labor costs.  The people of this state and the state economy will suffer, as Democrat leadership keeps us on a partisan, self-destructive economic path.”

  • Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-Holmdel) is concerned with the effect the bill will have on health care:

“The minimum wage bill signed today is unaffordable for the health care providers who support our state’s most vulnerable residents. If the providers are not being given the help they need, then neither will the people who rely on them. I volunteer for many of these agencies and, in speaking to their executive directors, this increase will directly impact their bottom line.

“With volunteerism at an all-time low, there are not enough resources to offset this blow. Their needs must not be forgotten or ignored, but, unfortunately, this bill has left their needs, and the needs of dozens of other communities, unaddressed. I’m incredibly concerned that we truly have not considered all of the consequences of this legislation. The majority is forging ahead blindly, and nothing good can come from that.”

  • Assemblyman Parker Space (R-Sparta) said the bill does not address the state’s high cost of living:

“The signing of this bill is evidence that the governor and Democrat legislative leadership have no sense of reality on what small businesses can afford. New Jersey doesn’t have an income problem, it has a cost-of-living and doing-business crisis. People who would be doing well in other states struggle to make ends meet in New Jersey. The same day the minimum wage was passed, there were multiple tax hikes passed. The Democrats’ logic is backwards.”

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