New Jersey Votes to Raise Minimum Wage—Despite Christie

Meanwhile, measure to raise it to$15 per hour in SeaTac, Washington is leading.

Photo Credit: L. E. MORMILE/

Minimum wage workers in one state will be getting a dollar raise after Tuesday's elections, and early returns indicate that minimum wage workers in one city in another state may be getting a much bigger raise. New Jersey voters may have re-elected Gov. Chris Christie, but they also did something good: They raised the state minimum wage to $8.25 an hour, tied it to inflation, and put it in the state constitution. And they did so in spite of, but also because of, Christie:
The vote was a victory for Democrats in the state Legislature, who put Public Question 2 on the ballot to achieve through referendum what they were blocked from doing by Gov. Chris Christie. He vetoed a bill last year that would have raised the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour with annual inflation adjustments. [...]

The measure was passing 60 percent to 40 percent, according to late results.

Business lobby groups are predictably announcing that because of this, jobs will be lost, despite the mountain of evidence from other states that have minimum wages higher than the pitifully low federal level of $7.25 that no, jobs will not be lost. One of those states is Washington, where the minimum wage is the highest in the country, at $9.19 (as in the New Jersey vote, it's tied to inflation so workers get small raises regularly rather than having to wait for politicians to get their act together), and the August unemployment rate was seven percent, slightly below the national rate. But even so, workers in the Washington city of SeaTac, most particularly those at the airport of the same name, may be getting a much bigger raise than in New Jersey. The city was voting on a measure to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour, and early returns show the increase leading. Because Washington votes by mail, though, the final result likely won't be known until the end of the week.

Laura Clawson is the Labor editor at Daily Kos Labor, and a contributing editor at Daily Kos.