A deal to boost transportation funding, waterfront access rules and the state takeover of a struggling Atlantic City were among New Jersey’s defining legislative and regulatory measures in 2016, but the year also was marked by failed efforts to increase the minimum wage and give raises to judges.
Here’s a roundup of the New Jersey legislative and regulatory initiatives that were critical in 2016:
Minimum Wage Increase
This year, Christie and Democratic legislators battled over a bill to gradually increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next five years.
Based on a referendum approved by voters in 2013, which approved annual adjustments to the state’s minimum wage based on the consumer price index, the minimum wage is slated to increase to $8.44 per hour on Jan. 1.
But Christopher S. Mayer, a partner with McCarter & English LLP who represents employers, told Law360 that “the likelihood of a larger increase by legislation happening anytime soon in New Jersey … is slim, at least while Christie is the governor.”
This comes as a relief to businesses that were worried about the increased labor expenses, Mayer said, including retail stores, restaurants, and home care and hospice providers.
“If the minimum wage goes up much higher, it could completely erode or take away their profit,” Mayer said.