It’s law, and Murphy keeps talking about $15 minimum wage
Gov. Phil Murphy continues to talk up New Jersey’s new $15 an hour minimum wage. Political observers say the public shouldn't expect him to stop anytime soon.
Murphy on Monday signed the bill into law, which gradually raises the wage to $15 over several years.
Murphy held a news conference about it on Tuesday, and now we get word he is going to hold a special telephone town hall event on Wednesday evening about the topic.
According to Ben Dworkin, the director of the Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship at Rowan University, boosting the minimum wage was a cornerstone of Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign so it’s not surprising he’s taking “victory lap after victory lap in order to remind people that he delivered on it.”
“Every first-term governor wants to have a second term, so certainly there is an eye toward re-election in a few years: We promised this, we delivered this, and everybody should know it.”
Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, says that getting the minimum wage increased to $15 an hour is a big deal for Murphy and “he wants to make sure he gets the requisite attention for it that he feels it deserves.”
“It’s unclear how many of these accomplishments he’s going to have because of his relationship with the state Legislature, particularly the state Senate president," Murray said, referring to Murphy's chilly relationship with fellow Democrat Steve Sweeney.
“We already see a number of fights gearing up over a number of things: pension benefits, marijuana legalization. It’s not clear he’s going to get all these other big-ticket items that he wants so this is definitely one he wants to be able to toot his horn about," Murray said.
“This also helps to raise his national profile. He wants to be a nationally relevant democratic politician.”
Dworkin pointed out a lot of Jersey residents still don’t really know much about the governor and “this is a great opportunity for him to identify himself and his administration with a specific and very popular issue.”
A spokesman for Murphy declined to comment.