NEW JERSEY -- Whether New Jersey will have a $15 minimum wage in the near future and the impact of such an increase on the economy, business and labor will be the primary point of discussion at the 2016 Small Business Economic Outlook Luncheon being held Friday, Dec. 9, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott.

The luncheon, being sponsored by the Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce, will feature a panel discussion with noted economic experts William Spriggs, chief economist, AFL-CIO; Ike Brannon of the CATO Institute; and Michael Lahr, director, Rutgers Economic Advisory Service. The discussion will be moderated by Jim Coyle, the chamber president.

"Phil Murphy, the presumptive Democrat nominee for governor, and the Democrats in the Legislature both are calling for a $15 minimum wage in New Jersey," Coyle said. "Such an increase will carry significant consequences for both employers and workers.

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"Proponents say an increase will help raise families out of poverty. Yet many analyses have concluded it will also lead to a reduction in jobs. In fact, the Heritage Foundation predicts a loss of 170,000 jobs by 2021 if the increase is implemented. We'll see what our panelists think."

Other questions to be discussed include:

  • Will the economy grow or flounder?
  • How is New Jersey going to fare?
  • What else is on the horizon?

The event is open to the public. To register, visit www.gatewaychamber.com and go to Events. Registration is not required but is encouraged. Registration will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Members of the media are invited at no charge.

The Gateway Regional Chamber of Commerce is the largest business association in the New York/Northern New Jersey Region, comprising 12 regional and local chambers. With 1,200 members, the Chamber has a 95% retention rate, the highest in the country.