$15 minimum wage could come to New Jersey by 2024

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TRENTON -

State Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin introduced a bill Thursday that could raise New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024.

The bill would gradually raise the minimum wage over the next five years. The current wage is $8.60 per hour. It would increase to $8.85 next month and to $9.50 per hour by the summer. Then the wage would increase to $11 per hour by 2020 – increasing every January after that until $15 per hour in 2024.

Smaller businesses would see a slower wage increase under the bill – reaching $15 per hour by 2029. This would include farm workers, seasonal workers and teenagers. Tipped workers would see their wages rise from $2.13 per hour to $5.13 per hour.

RELATED: Murphy renews call for $15 minimum wage bill this year
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But this bill does not go far enough for some, like the think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective.

"This bill is an affront to the hundreds of thousands of workers who will be left behind from earning the full minimum wage and a chance to better support themselves and their families,” says NJPP Government and Public Affairs Director Brandon McKoy.

Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science and law at Montclair State University, says that the bill reflects division within the Democratic Party in New Jersey.

"This is about that balance between the governor and the Legislature. If there was a relationship there, perhaps there would be a stronger bill,” she says. 

Harrison continued, “This is almost a punitive measure on one of Gov. [Phil] Murphy's signature campaign issues. And the reality is that when he campaigns again, he will not be able to say, 'I delivered this in my first term in office,’ even if he manages to strengthen this bill. It looks like Legislative leaders don't want for him to have too much success."

Gov. Murphy has promised a $15 per hour minimum wage under his watch. But it was unclear if he would support this bill.

The bill is expected to be heard in the Assembly Labor Committee Monday.

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