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NJ minimum wage jumps to $8.25; Pa. increase unlikely

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 01 2014 09:04:02 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 02 2014 05:06:36 AM CST

If you make minimum wage, your paycheck just got a little fatter -- at least if you live in New Jersey.

If you make minimum wage, your paycheck just got a little fatter -- at least if you live in New Jersey. The new year brought a one dollar increase in the Garden State, but workers hoping for a boost in neighboring Pennsylvania are probably out of luck.

At the U.S. Gas station in Phillipsburg, N.J., Dean Khiytov is hoping for a raise.

"For me, it's something really good," he said.

That's because New Jersey's minimum wage just jumped to $8.25 an hour. The new year also brought new wages for New York state ($8.00/hr.) and Connecticut ($8.70/hr.). Meantime, Pennsylvania still pays $7.25, the lowest allowed by federal law.

However, even some minimum wage earners think Pennsylvania shouldn't raise it.

"I just think it's a bad thing and ultimately it's going to lead to less people having jobs," said Adam Russek of Coopersburg, who works at a Giant grocery store.

Ice cream store employee Anna Lodwig agreed: "I think it's fair and I'm happy with what I make. I mean, I'd like to make more, but I feel like it's fair."

In 2013, two bills attempted to raise Pennsylvania's minimum wage to $9, but Republican Gov. Corbett said the move would be a job-killer. Back in New Jersey, one small business owner disagreed.

"I don't think so," said Manny Singh, a Phillipsburg convenience store owner. "Small business is like a family-run mostly -- most of the time."

As for Dean Khitov, he already makes $8.25 an hour, but he's hoping the new minimum wage will mean a raise.

"Of course," he said. "Tomorrow I will talk to my boss!"

New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved the minimum wage hike in November. California will raise its rate to $9 an hour this year, and the city of Seattle is actually considering a $15 minimum wage. Many fast food workers say that's what they need to make ends meet.