The needler in the haystack.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Two public questions on Tuesday ballot

Billboard atop West Front Street building advocates
supporting minimum wage increase.

Plainfielders, along with all other Jerseyans who go to the polls, will be faced with two public questions when they vote on Tuesday.

Taking them out of order, they are --

Question 2: Minimum Wage.
The question is whether to approve an amendment to the NJ Constitution to set a state minimum wage and an annual cost-of-living increase.

The current minimum wage, set in 2010, is $7.25 per hour, with no provision for cost-of-living adjustments.

The proposed amendment would raise that to $8.25 per hour, effective January 1, 2014, with annual COLAs based on the U.S. Consumer Price Index each January 1 thereafter. (By way of comparison, note that New York and Connecticut have recently enacted phased-in increases to a minimum of $9.00 per hour.)

The proposed amendment does not cover employees who rely primarily on tips and whose hourly minimum will remain at $2.13 (yes, that is correct!), per the National Fair Labor Standards Act.

The League of Women Voters fact sheet notes that the current minimum wage is actually LOWER than it was in 1967.

I will be voting YES to raise the minimum wage.
Question 1: Allow Veterans' organizations to benefit directly from existing games of chance.
Under current law, games of chance by Veterans' organizations (bingo, 50-50s, etc.) may only be used to benefit charitable activities and not toward support of the organization's more mundane needs like rent and utilities.

This amendment to the NJ Constitution would allow the proceeds of these local gambling activities to be used to support the group.

I am of a divided mind about this amendment. While I have no quarrel with allowing the vets to apply the proceeds from their games of chance to organizational needs, there are other groups that could use -- and may want -- the same exemption (currently, only Senior organizations are exempt). Why not make the change for everyone?

I will probably vote FOR the amendment.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

View today's CLIPS here. Not getting your own CLIPS email daily? Click here to subscribe.


Pat Turner Kavanaugh said...

Dan: one woman's opinion:while I favor raising the minimum wage, I donot believe the state constitution is the place for this.

Anonymous said...

The raising of the wage does not belong in the NJ constitution. And, what happens when we fall on bad economic times. The provision would require, by law, a wage increase. Bad law. If the wage is to be raised, do it by law, not in the constitution.