Governor’s Conditional Veto Pairs Responsible 3-Year Phase-In of One-Dollar Wage Increase with 25 Percent Increase in Earned Income Tax Credit
Trenton, NJ – Acting to support a responsible increase in the state’s minimum wage while providing direct relief to New Jersey’s working families and protecting the state’s economic recovery, Governor Chris Christie today put forward a plan to increase the state’s minimum wage by one dollar over a phase-in period of three years and to provide direct relief to struggling families with a 25 percent increase to the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit.
The Governor’s approach acts on his commitment to deliver real relief to working families in a careful, responsible manner that does not jeopardize New Jersey’s economic progress and, as a result, provides assistance to those who need both direct relief and access to sustainable and meaningful job opportunities. In contrast, the bill as passed by the Legislature, A-2162, represents a one-sided approach that will reverse New Jersey’s economic progress by taking a step backwards.
“In these difficult times those most impacted by challenging economic conditions – our state’s working families – need assistance. Instead of the lopsided approach taken by the Legislature, this plan delivers a responsible, balanced approach that increases the minimum wage by one dollar over a phase-in period of three years, while helping our working families with direct relief through an increase in our state’s Earned Income Tax Credit,” said Governor Christie. “I urge the Legislature to act quickly to provide real relief to New Jersey’s working families, while giving our small businesses a critical phase-in period to plan for the wage increase.”
Under Governor Christie’s proposal, New Jersey’s minimum wage earners will receive an immediate raise of twenty-five cents per hour in the first year, followed by a second-year increase of fifty cents, and finally another twenty-five cent per hour increase in the third year. By combining both immediate and long-term increases to minimum wage pay and removing the volatile unpredictability of automatic increases, the Governor’s plan will give workers the relief they need and also give New Jersey’s small businesses a short, but necessary, period to plan for the implementation of a one-dollar increase. This sensible and balanced approach will prevent the layoffs and relocations certain to accompany the Legislature’s current proposal.
“To make certain that New Jersey’s working families are on the strongest economic footing possible to continue their economic progress, today I am also proposing that the benefit amounts provided under the New Jersey Earned Income Tax Credit program be increased by 25 percent,” said Governor Christie. “Implemented with a phased-in one-dollar increase in the minimum wage, my plan will give workers the additional income and relief that will spur consumer spending and help grow strong, sound families.”
The Governor’s proposal includes a full restoration of the New Jersey Earned Income Tax Credit, first proposed over a year ago in his January 2012 State of the State Address. At 25 percent of the federal tax credit, the state EITC will be increased from the current level of 20 percent of the federal benefit and be fully implemented in taxable year 2014, providing a $550 benefit to the average eligible beneficiary - struggling working families who most need the help.