Norcross this morning in the Star Ledger:
The best social program is a good job with fair wages and the dignity that comes with it.
Last week, Governor Murphy reiterated that raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour is one of his top three legislative priorities this year, and I not only applaud his strong stance, but urge my friends in the state legislature and my colleagues in Congress to heed our shared call to raise wages.
I’ve spent my life fighting for good pay for workers, and spent years working as an electrician installing and restoring power for New Jersey homes, businesses and industrial sites. Raising wages for hardworking families is the first issue I talked to the governor and the new team in Trenton about. In fact, we brought together Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, and Assembly Leader Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, for their first joint public appearance after last year’s election to call for a $15 minimum wage.
Today, the wage floor is $7.25 an hour nationally and $8.60 in New Jersey, leaving Americans who work full time living in poverty. Families are coming up thousands of dollars short each month just trying to meet basic living standards — asking if they should pay for heat or for medicine. Food or rent. Those types of choices shouldn’t have to be made — not by an American with a full-time job. That doesn’t reflect our country’s values. But until wages rise, economic anxiety will continue to be the norm.
It’s illogical that our nation’s workers are more productive than ever, but profits are all going to CEO bonuses and offshore accounts instead of actual paychecks. And while everyone deserves a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work, our policies are not addressing the needs of everyday Americans — the many of us without trust funds, yachts and private jets. Trumpism favors the wealthiest among us — it doesn’t match American ingenuity or productivity.
To make matters worse, President Donald Trump and his Republican accomplices passed a heinous tax scam that gives 83 percent of the tax cuts to the wealthiest 1 percent. They rewarded billionaires, prioritized corporate profits and hurt working families — particularly in New Jersey — by gutting critical state and local tax deductions that Americans depend on.