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Michele Siekerka, president and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), released the following statement on Governor Chris Christie’s veto of the bill increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour and urged lawmakers not to move forward on their plan to place a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot which, if approved by the voters, would increase the minimum wage to the $15 level.

“Increasing the minimum wage to $15, as prescribed in the bill vetoed today, is too much too fast.  The Governor’s veto has saved thousands of small businesses from the negative impacts of a 79 percent increase in the minimum wage. Had this bill been signed, it would not only have hurt the New Jersey economy, but it would have hurt the exact workers the proponents of this policy are trying to help.

“Rather than moving forward with a constitutional amendment we should take this opportunity to focus our efforts on workforce development to ensure that minimum wage workers can acquire the skills to obtain higher level positions at higher salaries.

“We should instead concentrate on comprehensive reform that would make New Jersey more affordable, including reducing the highest in the nation tax burden that is making it difficult for people to afford to live here.”