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Minimum Wage on the New Jersey Ballot Nov 5

Contact: Bob Keener, 617-610-6766,
Corinne Horowitz, NJ Main Street Alliance, 609-937-1168, 

Highland Park, NJ (October 29, 2013) – One week out from the election, small business owners from across New Jersey are voicing their support for increasing the state’s minimum wage in a new video released today by the New Jersey Main Street Alliance. The video features business owners discussing why they support the November 5 ballot Public Question 2, which would increase New Jersey’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 per hour and then increase it annually to keep up with the cost of living.

Dan Preston, co-owner of Telequest Inc., and member of NJ Main Street Alliance and Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, produced the video with his crew pro bono. “Corporate lobbyists have poured a ton of money into fighting this amendment,” said Preston. “We may not have deep pockets, but I wanted to make sure real small business owners like myself are heard in this election.” 

“With the cost of living constantly going up, the increase in the minimum wage is long overdue.  Yes, small business owners must spend wisely, but this means paying our workforce a fair wage if we expect quality work,” said Kelly Conklin, owner of Foley Waite Associates, a woodworking firm in Kenilworth.  “The minimum wage increase is a no-brainer for NJ residents and business owners alike.”

“At $7.25, the minimum wage has less buying power now than it did in 1950, twelve years before Gov. Chris Christie was born,” said Holly Sklar, Director of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “When a growing share of workers can’t even afford necessities, it hurts Main Street businesses and communities. Raising the minimum wage will boost the economy.”

When state minimum wages were on the ballot in six states in 2006, all the measures passed. The New Jersey measure has strong popular support.

Business owners in the video give various reasons for their support for raising the minimum wage such as the need to increase consumer demand. “When people have more money, they will spend more money,” said Muhammed Chowhury, owner of Beauty Plus, a retail store in New Brunswick.  “Everybody wins.”  

Many say they already pay a higher wage, like Adam Woods, owner of Camden Printworks. “The minimum wage isn’t like the price you are paying for fuel or electricity…your employees are the thing that makes your shop go.”

“New Jersey’s small business owners know that their employees can’t live on $7.25 an hour,” said Corinne Horowitz, Business Representative for NJ Main Street Alliance, a network of 1400 independent small businesses statewide. “We’re so glad that we have the opportunity to share this video, which shows a small slice of the support Ballot Question 2 shares among small business owners.”

Jon Whiten, Deputy Director of New Jersey Policy Perspective said, “It makes economic sense to put more money into low-wage workers' pockets because they tend to spend any extra dollars they have on the things they need to survive in high-cost New Jersey. Raising the wage would pump $175 million into the state's economy in 2014, as the hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers spend their additional earnings on necessities. This is good news for businesses all over the state."

Link to video [NOTE: a high-def version is available by request.]

Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is a national network of business owners and executives who believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense.

NJ Main Street Alliance is an advocacy network of 1400 small and independent businesses statewide, whose mission is to create opportunities for business owners to speak for themselves on issues that impact their businesses and local economies.

* Business owners available for interview in addition to those quoted above. *