On behalf of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), I would like to thank all of our members and supporters who joined the campaign against the Constitutional Amendment to raise the minimum wage. It’s been a sometimes lonely fight and we knew from the beginning that it would be difficult. But we knew also that it was important to our members and for that reason, absolutely necessary.
Unfortunately, the measure passed this evening. I would like you to know that NFIB did everything it could to prevent this outcome. We fought the bill every step of the way as it moved through the legislative process, meeting with lawmakers, providing research and making our case in the media. When it reached the ballot NFIB joined with several other business groups to wage an aggressive campaign to educate voters. In the end, it wasn’t enough to overcome strong public opinion in favor of raising the minimum wage.
We think voters who supported this measure will soon regret their decision. Our research predicts a loss of tens of thousands of jobs, most of which will disappear from small businesses. We also expect that teenagers and young adults – the people for whom minimum wage jobs are intended — will be hit hardest. Our economy will no doubt be affected as well. Raising the minimum wage would have been damaging enough. Raising it every year, automatically without respect to business conditions is extremely risky. And cementing all of that in the Constitution will make it nearly impossible to reverse even when public sentiment changes.
It’s a tough break, but you’re tougher. You’ll make the decisions and the sacrifices and the innovations necessary to survive and succeed. Meanwhile, there are other battles to fight and if we win those we can offset the damage that this new law will cause.
Starting tomorrow we’ll be working with Governor Christie and the new Legislature on a real pro-growth agenda. The Governor has been remarkably genuine in his support for small business. Indeed, he took our side in this fight despite having nothing to gain politically by going against public opinion. He’s determined to cut taxes and so are we. He’s determined to cut regulations, and so are we. With a landslide win tonight he’s got a clear mandate, which means we’ve got a clear opportunity to make a difference for our members, small businesses and the people of New Jersey.
Thank you again for your commitment, activism and support. And thanks especially for your membership in NFIB. Let’s pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get ready for the fights ahead.