Payne Calls On Congress to Raise Minimum Wage

Mar 6, 2013 Issues: Economy and Jobs

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. signed on as an original co-sponsor to the Fair Minimum Wage Act to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 over the next three years and tie future annual increases to the rate of inflation.  

For four years, the federal minimum wage has remained stagnant and in fact has decreased in value as it has failed to keep pace with cost of living increases, making it harder for working families to make ends meet during tough economic times.  Meanwhile, productivity and corporate profits have continued to increase and the gap between rich and poor has grown at an alarming rate. Therefore, it is long overdue to give minimum wage workers the pay they have earned and the pay they deserve.

“People in New Jersey’s Tenth Congressional District work hard, and they deserve an honest day’s wage, yet minimum wage workers in New Jersey earn just $7.25.  No one who works hard, takes responsibility, and plays by the rules in this country should be forced into poverty or struggle to pay the bills,” Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. said.  “Although New Jerseyans will have the opportunity in November to vote to raise the state’s minimum wage to $8.25, more must be done.  The Fair Minimum Wage Act will provide a wage that working families can actually live on, it will strengthen our economy, and provide much needed economic security to those who need it most.”

A $10.10 minimum wage is a necessary step forward to building stronger families and workers.  Enacting this legislation will increase pay for as many as 30 million Americans and offer tipped workers their first pay hike since 1991.  With the real value of the minimum wage at historic lows, this measure will increase consumer spending.  Increasing the minimum wage is vital to building a stronger economy.  As a Fiscal Policy Institute study found, states with higher minimum wages have “consistently better” economic indicators than others.

Additionally, raising the minimum wage is a critical issue for millions of America’s women, many of them single mothers who work two or three jobs just to make ends meet.  Since more than 64 percent of minimum wage workers are women, it will offer a much-needed boost to America’s women in the workplace. Not only that, but indexing minimum wage to the rate of inflation instills greater purchasing power in our workers so that as consumers, they can both provide for their families and contribute to the growth of their local economies.

“With productivity and profits reaching all time highs, it’s important that New Jersey workers are provided the fair compensation that they deserve,” Rep. Payne, Jr. added.  “Let’s do what’s right by our people and pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act to provide a pay that is fair and worthy of the work our minimum wage workers perform.”