Senator Anthony M. Bucco said the goal of Governor Murphy’s Jobs NJ plan to address the skills gap to help prospective employees meet the needs of employers sounds positive, but expressed concern that the sum of the Governor’s anti-worker actions will hurt many New Jerseyans.
Sen. Tony Bucco said the sum of the Governor’s anti-worker actions will hurt many New Jerseyans, pointing to automated kiosks that have begun to replace many low-income workers in response to progressive wage policies. (SenateNJ.com)
“The general goal of ensuring that New Jerseyans in the workforce have the skills that employers value makes a lot of sense,” said Bucco (R-25). “I’m concerned, however, that the totality of the Governor’s tax-increasing and anti-worker policies will set us back two steps for every step forward we take to create more opportunity for New Jerseyans.”
Bucco noted, for example, that progressive wage mandates imposed by the Governor already have begun to accelerate automation in many industries, including the rapid spread of self-checkout kiosks at retailers that have replaced cashiers, and self-ordering tablets at restaurants that reduce the need for wait staff.
“There are many thousands of entry-level workers, including teenagers, who will have a much harder time getting a toe-hold in the workforce due to the Governor’s unreasonable wage mandates,” said Bucco. “I’m worried that more workers will learn that the real minimum wage is zero when their jobs become too expensive for their employers to maintain, especially relative to increasingly affordable and reliable technology like kiosks and tablets. It’s telling that some Democrats have gone so far as to propose taxing kiosks like employees to offset the harm they’ve done to workers.”
Bucco said it’s not just workers who may be harmed by progressive wage policies. Yesterday, it was reported that the non-profit that operates trams on the Wildwood Boardwalk is raising fares to pay for the increased cost of labor resulting from the Governor’s minimum wage increases.
“We have a clear example of the Governor’s wage mandates leading to higher costs for consumers,” said Bucco. “Even if it doesn’t impact your job, the minimum wage increase will impact your wallet, in one way or another.
Additionally, Bucco said the Governor has enacted billions of dollars in corporate tax surcharges that have increased the incentive for some of the state’s leading employers and largest taxpayers to leave New Jersey for jurisdictions south and west that offer substantially lower tax burdens. He also pointed out that the Governor has proposed spending the income tax increase that he has championed several times over, including to fund his new Jobs NJ proposal.
“During his State of the State yesterday, the Governor said his proposed income tax increase would fund schools, while today he’s saying it’ll pay for his jobs plan,” added Bucco. “I’m fairly certain we can only spend the same tax dollar once, but that’s only if the taxpayers he’s targeting don’t join the exodus from New Jersey.”
Bucco suggested a bipartisan effort that looks comprehensively at all of the factors that impact the job market in the Garden State.
“If the Governor is serious about improving the job outlook for New Jerseyans, we would welcome a bipartisan approach that examines all of the tax, labor, and education policies that jointly impact employment in the Garden State,” Bucco concluded. “If we don’t look at all of those factors in a comprehensive manner, however, we’ll just be spinning our wheels.”
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