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Will New Jersey Be the Next State With a $15 Minimum Wage?

It will likely pass, but the governor could still veto it

J Biochemist/Flickr

New Jersey could be the next state to adopt a $15 minimum wage: State Senators are scheduled to vote today on a bill that would gradually hike the hourly minimum to $15.10.

As the Daily Caller reports, said bill was introduced by Democrats back in February; if passed, the minimum wage would rise each year on January 1, with an ultimate goal of $15.10 by 2021. The current statewide minimum wage is $8.38.

If passed by the legislature — which is highly likely, given a Democratic majority — the bill would then be passed on to Governor Chris Christie for either vetoing or signing into law. If he vetoes it, "Democratic leaders have said they will attempt to place the measure on the fall 2017 ballot for voter approval," says, though that would significantly push back the timeline for reaching the $15 threshold.

So far, the states of New York and California and the city of Seattle have all approved a $15 per hour minimum wage, and lawmakers in a number of other states and cities have proposed similar measures.

A new report from anti-poverty nonprofit Oxfam America and the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute says nearly half the U.S. population earns less than $15 an hour; it also points to a growing gap between the pay of executives and average workers, noting that in 1965 the CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio was 20 to 1; as of 2014, it was 303 to 1.

While the Fight for $15 labor movement argues $15 an hour is simply a livable wage, business owners — including fast food franchisees — say such pay hikes would force them to cut hours and lay off employees.