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Gov. Phil Murphy today renewed his call for enacting a $15-an-hour minimum wage for workers in New Jersey, conceding that it would need to be phased in over years but saying he did not think there should be any exemptions.

NJBIA responded immediately, calling on lawmakers to think about how it will hurt small businesses.

“Any pathway to raising the minimum wage must take into consideration the impact these actions will have on our small business owners, who are the backbone of our communities and our downtowns,” NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka said.

“Many of our members have already told us they will not be able to absorb a significant increase in the minimum wage without reducing staff, hours or benefits, raising prices or automating,” she said. “As such, and as we heard in today’s press conference, the pathway must be a gradual phased-in one affording our job creators predictability and the ability to keep up with the continuing rising costs of running their business.”

Read the full statement here.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, who joined Murphy at the press conference, said his caucus was still working on legislation, but shared a commitment to address the issue soon, but offered no specific time frame.