The Record (NJ): Richard Lawton: Consumers must be part of minimum wage conversation

Op-Ed By Richard Lawton
The Record (NJ), April 26, 2018

Consumers are our real job creators in New Jersey. As a business leader, I know consumer spending is the mainstay of our economy. Businesses across New Jersey need consumers who can afford their products and services.

Raising the minimum wage is a very efficient way to boost consumer demand— and, in turn, businesses and the economy. It puts additional dollars into the hands of low-income New Jersey residents, the very people most likely to spend those dollars. This increase in consumer spending will help businesses go from surviving to thriving, add jobs, and grow the economy. ...

Paying employees a fair minimum wage not only boosts business by boosting consumer demand, it has far-reaching benefits inside of a business.

Take, for example, Earth Friendly Products, a 50-year-old, family-owned manufacturing company with a manufacturing plant in Parsippany. Earth Friendly Products pays a good starting wage and in return, they have attracted and retained dedicated employees, have very low voluntary turnover, which means lower hiring and training costs, and have maintained high levels of product quality, employee morale and customer satisfaction. Fair wages have created a virtuous cycle that benefits their employees and has fueled the company’s strong growth over the short- and long-term.

Raising the minimum wage will help businesses across New Jersey experience similar benefits. High turnover is common in low-wage industries, and it’s very costly to hire and train new employees. By contrast, get your employees to stick around longer, and they will be more efficient and productive. They are more invested in the success of your business. They get to know your business better, improving product quality and customer service, and freeing you up as an owner or CEO to focus on innovation. All of these benefits boost the bottom line of a business and offset the costs of raising wages. ...

Raise the minimum wage and you create a virtuous cycle: increase consumer demand, decrease the number of working people who must rely on taxpayer subsidies, and level the playing field among businesses. ...

Richard Lawton is a small business owner, Executive Director of New Jersey Sustainable Business Council and a member of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage.

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Copyright 2018 Richard Lawton

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