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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (L) speaks at a campaign rally with Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in Exeter, New Hampshire January 8, 2012.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill raising the state's minimum wage from the federal rate of $7.25 to $8.50 and tying it to inflation. The conditions attached? Christie would raise the minimum wage to $8.25 over three years, and rejected automatic annual adjustments to keep pace with rising costs. Just to be extra generous,
The governor also called for restoration of a tax credit for the working poor that he trimmed by 5 percent in 2011. If the Earned Income Tax Credit is returned to its pre-2011 level, the average annual benefit would be $550.
Pretty much the definition of giving with one hand while taking with another, no? "You get an increase in the minimum wage—but not as big as the legislature wanted, and then it will be stalled again. You get a bigger tax credit for working poor families—bigger as in as big as it was before I cut it." But Democrats in the New Jersey legislature don't appear inclined to go along with it:
Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, a Democrat from East Orange, said the legislature will push for a referendum on the November ballot.

“We just need a simple majority of votes out of the Assembly and the Senate, which we know we will have,” Oliver said in a statement.

More than 300,000 New Jersey workers would have gotten a direct raise from the increase, while another 230,000 making just above $8.50 would likely have gotten a raise as an indirect effect. Historically, minimum wage increases do very well in ballot votes.

Meanwhile, in neighboring New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has decided to emerge as the champion of a minimum wage increase—less than a year after his refusal to push state Senate Republicans on such a bill helped doom it. With nearly 1.6 million New Yorkers standing to get a direct or indirect raise if the minimum wage does get raised to $8.75, it shouldn't matter who gets it done. But neither should Cuomo get credit for pushing something that's both good policy and popular eight months after he sat on his hands while legislative Democrats were pushing to make it happen.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 02:16 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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