Democratic leaders agree on plan raising minimum wage to $15

Democratic leaders agree on plan raising minimum wage to $15

Democratic leaders agree on plan raising minimum wage to $15 (2/19/16)

TRENTON - New Jersey's minimum wage would rise to $15 an hour over five years under a new proposal from the leaders of the Democrat-led Legislature.

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Senate President Steve Sweeney unveiled the initiative Friday during a statehouse news conference. It comes after they earlier announced competing plans to boost the state's minimum wage from $8.38 an hour. The wage was last raised in 2013, from $7.25.

The new plan calls for raising the hourly wage to $10.10 in the first year if approved before going to $15 after five years, an approach favored by Sweeney. It also will begin as a bill, rather than a proposal to amendment constitution, which Prieto wanted.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie slammed the idea this week, calling it "economically irresponsible."

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