New Jersey voted Tuesday to re-elect Chris Christie as Governor by an overwhelming margin. Pundits are focusing on Christie’s win as a sign of a Republican resurgence, but the same electorate in New Jersey that voted for Christie, voted to raise the minimum wage.In New Jersey, the minimum wage, which was set at the federal floor of $7.25, will now rise by a dollar and the state constitution will be amended to include automatic increases tied to inflation. It is now the eleventh state to adopt automatic increases to the wage, standing in contrast to the federal government, where it hasn’t risen in four years. Over 60 percent of voters approved the measure.
While the minimum wage stagnates at the federal level — where it would be over $10 an hour if it had kept up with inflation since the late 1960s — states and local communities have been taking matters into their own hands. Voters approved a raise in Albuquerque, NM; San Jose, CA; and Long Beach, CA in the 2012 election. Supporters are pushing for higher wages in Alaska, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and South Dakota either through ballot measures or by pressuring lawmakers.
The results on Tuesday were a mixed ba,g but before Republicans go celebrating their return from the wilderness, they might want to look at issues like the minimum wage and equal pay, as indicators of where voters are and what’s driving them.
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