In response to mounting concerns regarding how the latest minimum wage law will impact local governments and taxpayers, Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40) formally introduced legislation on Thursday, Feb. 14 to exempt certain government workers from State minimum wage increases.

Prior to Governor Murphy’s signing of the minimum wage increase, municipal, school and county government employees were exempt from the State minimum wage, and were subject only to federal increases. Senator Corrado’s new legislation would restore this exemption, so that these employees would once again only be subject to the federal minimum wage.

“The new minimum wage law is forcing local leaders to make impossible choices,” Senator Corrado said. “Many of our towns currently provide extremely affordable community services, such as daycare, summer camp, and recreational classes for seniors. The unintended consequence of this law is that many of these programs will disappear, unless we take action to keep local government programs accessible.”

“Given our two-percent cap, there is only so much wiggle room in local budgets, so raising taxes to cover higher wages isn’t really an option,” Corrado added. “If we want to continue to keep families and seniors in our communities, we should do everything we can to preserve these programs now.”

The New Jersey League of Municipalities, Association of Counties, and School Boards Association all opposed S-15/A-15, specifically because the law removed the provision exempting municipal, county, and school district employees from the State minimum wage.

“While there is certainly merit in evaluating and increasing the minimum wage, this new mandate will only continue to raise costs on local governments, which operate under a 2 percent cap,” NJ League of Municipalities Assistant Executive Director Michael Cerra said. “We thank Senator Corrado and call on the Legislature to fully review the impact and give due consideration to this legislation.”

Municipal summer camps, school district after-care programs, library workers, park employees, municipal and county pools, animal shelters, lifeguards, and beach badge checkers are among some of the employees and services that could be cut locally if the Legislature doesn’t take action to restore the exemption.

Jonathan Pushman, of the NJ School Boards Association noted that certain contractors, such as substitute teachers and part-time custodians would also be impacted, and that the cost could be passed on to taxpayers, according to a report by New Jersey 101.5.

John Donnadio, Executive Director of the NJ Association of Counties told reporters that it would only be a matter of “two to three years” before the new minimum wage law becomes a “taxpayer disaster.”

Corrado added that although most full-time employees already make more than $15 an hour, many local government jobs are staffed by area teens, who will lose out on the opportunity to gain early work experience if these programs are eliminated.

The cost to local governments will be extreme across the state. For example, Burlington County will have to pay an additional $312,713 a year as a result of the increase, according to a reportby the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“It breaks my heart to think of all the working parents who won’t be able to find childcare this summer if these programs aren’t available,” Corrado added. “Our residents shouldn’t pay the price for progressive politics and we can’t keep asking taxpayers to foot the bill, either. We have a responsibility to listen to the local leaders in our communities and respond to their concerns. They have been clear about what will happen if we don’t take action. I hope that we can restore this exemption before they are forced to cut these invaluable services and programs.”

A copy of Sen. Corrado’s bill can be found here.

8 responses to “Bill Exempts Local Employees from State Minimum Wage Law”

  1. Robin U Blind says:

    Well well – isn’t that just dandy. “The new minimum wage law is forcing local leaders to make impossible choices,” Senator Corrado said. So let’s exempt them. We’ll just keep on sticking to all those small business owners. Jersey politics at it’s finest.

    Folks – you just can’t make this stuff up …

    • And it says “Welcome to New Jersey” when you cross the bridge, as they start digging into your pocket. Welcome to owning a small business………….were rich…..didn’t the governor tell you that?? And Trenton cant figure out why we all retire out of state?

  2. How about the Governor paying for Internship programs becoming Apprenticeship programs. Meaning – let the employer get them for 6 months for free. First 2 months on the individual wanting to learn (or internship through school for credit and training). However, for the best workers, it continues with the government paying for it for an additional few months so that the employer is more likely to hire them as they become a part of the company. The caveat should be that they can not replace the person after the apprenticeship and that the employer has to write that they have the correct intentions before starting and the employee has to write what they have learned in great detail both for the school (if that be the case) and for the government to make sure it’s becoming more meaningful.

    Too expensive for the state to manage? I’m interested

  3. Gman says:

    Define hypocrisy. Expecting someone else to do what you don’t want to do. It’s a burden on the local and county governments, and may eliminate programs, but it’s okay to require it of independent businesses!

  4. Jim C says:

    Typical politicians. They have absolutely no clue or care how this same law impacts small businesses in NJ. They just assume every business can afford it, and they turn a deaf ear to those who say otherwise. Then the same politicians can’t figure out why businesses and tax dollars leave this state, so they think of more ways to increase tax revenues with never-ending higher fees and taxes (internet sales tax, upcoming rain tax, etc.). It’s a sad state of affair in NJ, but I guess it’s at least good that someone thought about how it will impact municipal budgets.

  5. Sue says:

    It will not only be child care and summer camps through the townships that will disappear it will be private childcare and summer camps. Child care is already expensive due to rules and regulations, child to teacher ratios, insurance, property tax and so much more. The increase to $15 per hour for employees can only be made up by increasing the tuition. The tuition will not be affordable and so private child care centers will begin closing due to lack of children. New Jersey will soon be in a crisis of no child care for working parents.

  6. Jay says:

    Next, the state will outlaw all private businesses, taking control over them, thus pushing the minimum wage back to the federal minimum wage. They will take control of all of our assets while doing so. They are setting us up for complete domination. This needs to be stop, NOW. They say they’re doing this for the good of the people, the middle class and the poor, yet municipal workers don’t count? This must stop and be investigated. Elmo Murphy must be reined in. He’ll stop at nothing to bankrupt all the businesses in NJ while he sits on his fat balloon back account he ill received. Here we come “1984”. BTW… the Rain Tax? Elmo himself orders the 3 inch layers of salt on the road every time he sees a cloud. He should pay the Rain Tax himself.

  7. Jeannette says:

    NJ politicians are blind to the impact this minimum wage will have on small business operators in this state. Young and inexperienced workers will find it nearly impossible to find jobs. Employers will be forced to cut hours, reduce work force and increase prices. Those with employees currently receiving state assistance will most likely loose those employees as they will no longer be able to work the hours they are currently working as they will earn too much money in their part time positions and will loose their assistance programs if they continue to work – putting more strain on the state programs. Cost of living will increase for everyone as business’s cannot absorb any more expenses imposed on them by this money hungry state. Sure, the state may receive increased income from taxes on higher wages but will that be enough to offset the increased unemployment expenses? This state is on a path of self destruction and our politicians can’t see this!