TRENTON – Senator Peter J. Barnes (D-Middlesex) issued the following statement today supporting the proposed plan by Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto that would phase in a gradual increase of New Jersey’s minimum wage to at least $15 over five years, with the initial starting point at $10.10 per hour:

“Raising the minimum wage is not only the right thing to do, but it is our moral and social responsibility as legislators to serve all of our residents, especially the most vulnerable among us. I support the Senate President and Assembly Speaker in their effort to shrink the widening wage gap among residents of our state.

“While New Jersey overall has steadily recovered from the Great Recession, there are still areas of very high unemployment and low wage work that leave individuals struggling to meet their basic needs or those of their family. History has proven that increases in minimum wage stimulate the economy, and I expect more of the same with any future increase.”