As expected, the Assembly Labor Committee has released legislation that would increase the minimum wage in Jersey – from 7-25 to 8-50 an hour.

If the full Legislature approves the measure, and it’s signed by the Governor , what effect would it really have?

For the typical full-time worker earning a minimum wage salary, Rutgers economist James Hughes says the difference – after taxes – would be an increase of 180 to 200 dollars a month – which might not seem like a lot of money, but “if this is the major bread winner- for those at the bottom of the income ladder – this would certainly be helpful to them…New Jersey is an extraordinarily expensive place to live and for those that are truly needy, any extra resources would probably have some effect on the quality of life – some effect on acquiring the basic necessities of life.”


He points out it’s very difficult to “guesstimate” , but a “typical” low-income family – combining the salaries of husband and wife – might earn around 30 to 35 thousand dollars a year – paying somewhere around 11 hundred dollars a month rent, while spending in the vicinity of 400 dollars a month for food, and 1 to 2 hundred a month on public transportation, assuming they did not own and operate a car.

Hughes says even though such a family might be eligible for food stamps, heating assistance, universal cell-phone help, the extra 180 to 200 a month they’d collect ” would be certainly be a benefit to them, there’s no question about that, because they are really strapped….if it’s a teenager who is working just to secure spending dollars and the like, their spending is going to be on pure discretionary items – however if it’s a head of household – and a struggling family, they’re going to spend the money on necessities…it would be a significant addition to their expenditures- and those expenditures would probably be in vital necessities to keep the household functioning.”