TRENTON - The Assembly has voted to raise New Jersey's minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 per hour.

Supporters say the increase would help impoverished families and help jumpstart local economies. A similar bill is pending in the Senate budget committee.

Opponents say the bill could force business owners to reduce hours or benefits to compensate for the increased wages.

Gov. Chris Christie has said he's skeptical but will keep an open mind on the measure.