NJ Spotlight: Can advocates sell a $15/hour minimum wage to New Jersey?

By Hank Kalet
NJ Spotlight, Feb 26, 2018

Backers say the benefits of higher minimum wage would benefit both workers and small businesses

... Jon Whiten, vice president of NJPP, a liberal think tank that focuses on economic issues, said during a telephone press conference Thursday that there is a rare "consensus in Trenton" that "raising the minimum wage to a more livable, family-sustaining wage is a top priority." NJPP, hoping to influence the debate and push the state Legislature to move quickly, issued a report Thursday offering data it says supports the need for the wage hike. A [$15] minimum wage, NJPP says, would directly aid about 1.2 million workers and indirectly help others by injecting $4.8 billion in increased wages into the economy by 2023, when a phased-in hike would take effect. ...

Jennifer Lollino, the human resources director for Earth Friendly Products, supports a minimum wage increase and says companies would benefit from reduced turnover. The company, which has four manufacturing plants around the country including one in Parsippany, increased its starting wage over four years, settling at $17 an hour in 2014. The higher wage helped reduce turnover and training costs, increase productivity, and put money in workers' pockets that are then spent on their products, she said during the NJPP press conference.

"The cost of turnover is huge and can result in the loss of knowledge and the time and resources it can take to find and train new workers," she said. "The fact that we're able to keep our voluntary turnover low has had a huge impact on the business and allowed us to remain competitive." ...

Increasing the minimum wage would have a direct stimulus on the state's economy, the report says, because it "directly puts more money in the pockets of low-income workers who cannot meet their basic, everyday needs." The money is "liquid," the report says, which means it gets spent rather than saved. ...

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