Minimum Wage

New Jersey Increases Minimum Wage by 70 Percent

Gas station owners are unsure how they can afford to pay their pump attendants-which are mandated by state law.

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Gas
Syda Productions / Dreamstime

The "Ready for 15" crowd claimed a victory this week as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill that will raise the statewide minimum wage from $8.85 an hour to $15 by 2024.

That win will be short-lived, though, as many employers will inevitably struggle to meet the steep increase in labor costs. Gas stations, in particular, may have a harder time affording attendants. "Local gas station owners testified before us that they cannot sustain employees and keep their businesses open without bringing in self-serve gas," state Sen. Declan O'Scanlon (R–Monmouth County) wrote this week.

That's particularly nerve-wracking for the Garden State, which has a strange prohibition on customers pumping their own fuel. (The 1949 law was ostensibly enacted for safety reasons, but it was probably an attempt to curb competition when self-serve stations were still novel.) There are no plans to scrap the antiquated rule.

Even so, Murphy maintains that the mandated wage hike will be good for workers.

"It is a great day to make some history for New Jersey's working families," the Democrat told a crowd of supporters. "And that's just what we're going to do."

The minimum wage will increase to $10 per hour, then will rise by a dollar each year until it reaches $15. Private businesses have until July to implement the first bump in pay.

But the law takes effect immediately for government employees, who have typically been exempt from such pieces of legislation. Michael Cerra, assistant executive director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, says some communities will see a "significant" impact.

It "will probably require the increase of user fees, and potentially the reduction of positions or the reduction or elimination of services," he tells Philly.com.

That ripple effect could be widespread, and it will hit employees in several state-sponsored areas—from animal shelters to election boards to schools—as well as the taxpayers who finance their salaries.

"We realize that contracted service providers that are impacted by this legislation will likely pass those costs onto us, which would inevitably be passed on potentially to taxpayers," said Jonathan Pushman of the New Jersey School Boards Association. "Going up to $15 could cause stress on other areas of our budget, which could have a potentially negative impact on the education we provide our students."

The hike will inevitably harm the most vulnerable. With a mere 10 percent increase in the minimum wage, the Fraser Institute estimates, the youngest and least experienced can expect to see a drop in employment of anywhere from 3 to 6 percent.

For New Jersey schools, that includes custodians, school bus aides, and substitute teachers, who might find themselves with fewer hours or without work entirely. Count student workers in that cohort too. Those part-time jobs—in athletic and administrative offices, for instance—aren't meant to provide a living wage, but they're being regulated as though they are.

Seasonal businesses have a bit longer to comply, with a mandated $10.30 per hour wage taking effect in January 2020. But no time is enough to prepare, according to Alli O'Neill, who owns the summer-prone Colonial Bakery on the Shore. She expects that the price of a dozen doughnuts will almost double, from $11 to $21.

"It's not like I'm taking home so much that I can take it out of my pocket," she tells the Ashbury Park Press. "I wish I could. I think there are big businesses out there that can do that. But the small businesses can't."

For Murphy, though, this is the only rational way forward. "We've talked long enough about putting New Jersey on a responsible path to $15 an hour minimum wage," he said at the bill-signing. "Today we start our way on this path."

That path will be slow-going, though, if New Jerseyans can't pump their own gas.

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  1. Why you people still live in states like The Garbage State, I will never know.

    1. Welchie Boy lives in Brooklyn.

      OK, Brooklyn practically IS in New Jersey, but still.

    2. I won’t even buy gas there. And it’s not like I need additional reasons to avoid the Turnpike…

    3. New Jersey does not have any major cities or upstate areas. It’s mostly a band of suburbs with recreational areas on the side. This makes driving to any type of neighborhood easy. We’ve got the airport in Newark and access to New York City. The variety is nice.

  2. If the government can’t afford to pay all of its workers a living wage, maybe they shouldn’t exist in the first place…

  3. New Jersey is a progressive paradise, nice people, great weather, little traffic and a family friendly cost of living. To top it off, exceptional government services. What’s not to like?

    1. everything on your list, except for the great weather will vanish under the strain of a $15 minimum wage.

  4. Yeah, and what about all of the union wages that are predicated upon the minimum wage or at least unions that will argue for hire wages because they cannot have their members making the same as a fast food worker.

    The Garbage State nickname is too kind. My apologies to actual garbage which does not make a pretense of being more or superior to anything else.

    Murphy said, “We’ve talked long enough about putting New Jersey on a responsible path to $15 an hour minimum wage,” as dicktated by Jeff Bezos.

    1. they cannot have their members making the same as a fast food worker.

      Nor can any business have their supervisors making the same as the grunts. Who will accept a promotion and additional duties if they can make the same money just working the counter? Raise the minimum and everyone’s pay has to go up to maintain a progressive wage structure.

  5. There’s a conspiracy theory going around that the minimum wage increase and other progressive initiatives in New Jersey are a cynical ploy to empty the state of low wage earners and retirees so they can be replaced with luxury condos for the rich. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a conspiracy for the outcome to be the same.

  6. “She expects that the price of a dozen doughnuts will almost double, from $11 to $21.”

    FFS that alone will trigger a police union demand for hire wages. Looks like a stealth sugar tax.

    Just waiting for the feigned government shock and inevitable excuse of “unintended consequences” when this becomes the foreseeable epic fail. Seattle, anyone?

    1. The good news is that it will not raise the cost for New Joysians to get their lawns cut.

    2. WTF. A dozen donuts is $6 in Houston.

      1. You need to send New Jersey some of your Mexican bakers.

        1. Hell no. Then how would I get my Mexican sweet bread?

    3. $11?

      Remind me why people *want* to live in New Jersey?

      1. Great hairstyles and awesome tans.

  7. “It is a great day to make some history for New Jersey’s working families,”

    At least two or three of them.

  8. No one has explained to me why the minimum wage was only raised to $15 an hour.

    1. Cheap bastards. Everyone knows a living wage is $50 hour.

      1. If we make the minimum wage $1000/hr, every worker will be a multimillionaire, and we can then force those greedy bastards to pay their fair share in taxes!

        /prog-gasm

  9. You can’t pump your own gas in NJ, But for some unexplained reason, you can legally pump your own diesel fuel, as I discovered when I bought a diesel car.

    1. Diesel’s far less volatile than gasoline at normal temperatures. The flash point of gasoline is -47?c where diesel is 50-something.

      But it probably has more to do with minimum wage jockies misfueling cars.

      1. It has more to do with the way the law is worded – not only does it likely specify *gasoline* pumping but there’s probably a carve-out for trucking support operations.

        1. Diesel operators may have been assumed to be pros back in ’49 when the law came out.

  10. “It’s not like I’m taking home so much that I can take it out of my pocket,”

    You shouldn’t be in business then.

    1. “It’s not like I’m taking home so much that I can take it out of my pocket,” she tells the Ashbury Park Press. “I wish I could. I think there are big businesses out there that can do that. But the small businesses can’t.”

      Why does she think big businesses are somehow immune to labor costs?

      1. Less affected != immune but point taken.

    2. If you can absorb the increase, then you have been taking “too much” profit and are an exploitative scumbag. If you can’t without raising prices , you’re an incompetent and don’t “deserve” to be in business.

      It’s almost like they hate private enterprise.

  11. Even so, Murphy maintains that the mandated wage hike will be good for workers.

    Anyone who loses their job due to the minimum wage hike will no longer be a “worker”, by definition.

    1. If they lose their jobs, it’s not the fault of the sainted government. It’s those greedy business owners who just refuse to share their profit and wealth.

      Maybe someone should propose getting rid of those greedy business owners and taking all their stuff.

      1. We need robot business owners.

  12. “We’ve talked long enough about putting New Jersey on a responsible path to $15 an hour minimum wage,” he said at the bill-signing. “Today we start our way on this path.” “Fuck it. We’ll just do it irresponsibly.”

  13. If attendants are mandatory, and gas is … mandatory, then I don’t see how this will harm the gas stations. Prices will necessarily go up, but it’s not like there’s an alternative except for people who live in other states.

  14. Of course, when the price of gas, food, and other retail items go up due to the wage increase, so that even folks who make $15 an hour can’t afford what they need to live, the government will raise the minimum wage again.

    1. No, silly, the rich people will just have to stop hoarding all the stuff and there’ll be plenty for everyone. All that food, clothing, and merchandise produced by the slaves must still be in warehouses somewhere, right?

  15. Gas station owners are unsure how they can afford to pay their pump attendants?which are mandated by state law.

    That’s actually pretty simply – close aproximately 1/4 to 1/3 of the existing stations (putting those attendants out of work completely) and then raise prices.

    Consumers have less convenient access to fueling stations, higher prices, and there are lot’s of people now out of work but you can pay those still working a slightly larger amount. Its win-win.

  16. “It’s not like I’m taking home so much that I can take it out of my pocket,” she tells the Ashbury Park Press. “I wish I could. I think there are big businesses out there that can do that. But the small businesses can’t.”

    Sorry ma’am. I can almost guarantee that you, as a small gas station owner, are taking in more profit on a per-station basis than any of the chains. The chains succeed because, with a large number of stations, each station doesn’t have to be as profitable as a single-station operation.

    *You’re* actually in a better position to handle the wage hike than the chain stations are.

    1. She owns The Colonial Bakery on the Shore–not a gas station.

    2. Have you Ever owned or operated a business?

  17. Look for a wave of bankruptcies or businesses leaving for more friendly places. Also, look for liberals to refuse to acknowledge the results of their actions, but instead blame it on the EVIL business owners.

    1. This is the part I actually appreciate. At least doing it at the state level is more sane than in federal systems. But we all know once the coasts do it to themselves and see the ill effects they’ll force it at the federal level to make themselves competitive again. Win/win for them. They get to pretend to be heroes while actually being the villain no one expects.

  18. It amazes me how many demonrats still don’t understand that if you make a job pay more than its worth, the job ceases to exist.

  19. “It’s not like I’m taking home so much that I can take it out of my pocket,” she tells the Ashbury Park Press. “I wish I could. I think there are big businesses out there that can do that. But the small businesses can’t.”

    Right there.

    I hope this fucking retard goes bankrupt.

    If it’s not good for you, if it hurts you, why in the names of all the fucking gods would you think that it’s not gonna hurt everybody?

    1. Duh, they’re big so they have more $.

    2. Maybe the bigger guys are more automated.

      And Krispy Kreme sucks, for the record.

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