New Jersey lawmakers voted in favor of a measure Thursday putting the state on a course to increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie now has to accept or veto the law after a 21-18 state Senate vote in favor of the increase. The measure could make New Jersey the third state to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour. New Jersey currently has a minimum wage of $8.38 an hour. Christie has already expressed concern over the policy.
State Democrats have steadily advanced the bill through the legislature since introducing it Feb. 11. Supporters could override any potential veto if they can get a two-thirds majority within the legislature.
On April 4, New York and California became the first two states to enact a $15 minimum wage, following the policy’s passage in several cities starting with Seattle, Wash., in June, 2014. Supporters argue the policy can help people rise above the poverty line, but opponents warn the policy could actually hurt the poor by reducing employment opportunities.
The New Jersey Business & Industry Association determined the policy could force businesses to raise their prices or reduce their workforce to overcome the added cost of labor. On the other side, the New Jersey Policy Perspective found the increase will help 975,000 state residents, including many who are struggling to make ends meet.
Christie and his office did not respond to a request for comment by The Daily Caller News Foundation.