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NJBIA President & CEO Michele N. Siekerka, Esq. issued the following statement regarding today’s press conference by Governor Murphy on increasing New Jersey’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“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.

“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. 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.

“Further, raising the rate at the entry level means resetting the rate for other workers across the board. Concerns about wage compression are real and can create inequitable pay differentials between low-skilled workers and trained or experienced ones.

“Finally, because higher skill levels demand higher wages, NJBIA strongly feels that job training should be a key aspect in any discussion regarding increasing the minimum wage.

“NJBIA will continue to advance a dialogue that calls for a gradual phase in of any increase and appropriate exemptions to address youth and training wages, as well as various industry sectors that will be hard pressed to carry the burden of the cost increase.”