TRENTON - New Jersey is one step closer to raising the state's minimum wage.

A bill to raise the minimum wage was approved by the Assembly Labor Committee today. The bill not only bumps the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50, but also ties the wage to consumer prices to ensure it keeps up with inflation.

Lakisha Williams, who earns minimum wage, testified before the panel about Speaker Shelia Oliver's bill. Oliver says the bill will help 290,000 New Jerseyans like Williams who are struggling to make ends meet. Oliver also says wage increase won't bankrupt employers.

Oliver says she's willing to work with Republicans to get the bill passed and Gov. Chris Christie says he has an open ear.