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Gov. Elect-Phil Murphy and legislative leaders held a press conference today to announce support for gradually increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour – a move NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka said that should be done in a comprehensive manner to address affordability and job opportunity in New Jersey.

Anjalee Khemlani, of the news website ROI-NJ, reports that Murphy was joined by U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-1st Dist.), state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford), Assembly Speaker-elect Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge), and labor and workers unions who want the raise. While encouraged that the move to the higher minimum wage will not be immediate, Siekerka issued a statement noting NJBIA member companies have said increasing the state’s $8.44 minimum wage to $15 would greatly impact their businesses.

“Most of our member companies tell us they will raise prices, reduce employee hours and increase automation to counter the impact of such a dramatic wage increase,” Siekerka said.

“Any discussion about increasing New Jersey’s minimum wage should be done in a comprehensive manner, rather than artificially assigning a value to jobs,” Siekerka said. “It should take into consideration workforce development and job training initiatives to raise the skills of low-wage earners and exceptions for certain industries for appropriate economic purposes.”

“We look forward to having a seat at the table to work with Governor-elect Murphy and the Legislature on a comprehensive policy proposal to address affordability and job opportunity in New Jersey.”

Read Siekerka’s complete statement  here.