Leslie Roberson opened JNR Beauty Supplies in Hammonton three months ago. She employs six people part-time but can’t swing $15 an hour.
“Fifteen dollars? I couldn’t survive right now, doing that. Maybe in the future I could, but I’m a new business, so that’d be difficult to do right now,” she said.
Democratic lawmakers who want to push the state’s minimum wage up 80 percent to $15 an hour, would find few takers at this South Jersey Heartland business luncheon on creative marketing, sponsored by the Pascale Sykes Foundation.
“It certainly would have an impact on small and independent owned businesses, for sure. It is a delicate balance, though. Because when you look at the cost of living in New Jersey, in South Jersey, wages are low,” said Jim Donio.
But the managing director of Hammonton’s Eagle Theater says the town’s worked hard to grow its downtown.
“My thought is, if $15 is good, $20 is better,” said Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll.
So, Republican Carroll’s proposing a test: raise the minimum wage in five New Jersey counties for five years to $20 an hour. See what happens.
“Those are urban counties with a large number of relatively poor people and which could use the economic boost the left tells us results from minimum wage increases and we should test the theory and see if it works,” Carroll said.
Most business people say in this economy, nobody’s cup runneth over and a $15 per hour minimum wage would drain resources even further.