Michael Rothwell: Companies like PQM, which is how we’re recognized by our customers, companies like us that call New Jersey home would be particularly disadvantaged by a highest-in-the-nation wage increase. In order to compete with the big box stores and online retailers, our niche has built by providing great customer service, offering high quality products at a good value, and helping support the needs of our local community. Such a dramatic increase in labor expenses threatens the very culture of our business model. If we are forced to reduce staff, customer levels drop and we have to raise prices, it could also potentially threaten our ability to remain in business. Big box stores on the other hand would be better able to absorb higher labor costs in New Jersey by raising prices minimally across their huge market area. Automated online retailers would continue using technology to avoid hiring people. Simply stated, at a time when we are struggling to compete with billion-dollar companies a significant increase in the minimum wage puts New Jersey stores at a competitive disadvantage to national competitors and big box stores.
Governor Christie: This is just the first step. This veto will not be overridden. Republicans in the state legislature will make sure that Democrats cannot override this veto, and that means that Democrats have already been anticipating this, and they’ve already said they are going to vote to put this on the ballot in 2017 to try to embed it in the constitution. That means that there is going to be a large, and I hope, loud public discussion about this. This industry and others affected by this proposed constitutional amendment need to speak up. I understand what Mike says about wanting to stay under the radar in politics, take my word for it, it might be a good thing. But you know what? In this one we can’t, because those who chose to stay under the radar will lose. We need to educate the public about this issue. If we educate the public about them about the issue, they will vote no. If we allow just the instincts of generous New Jerseyans who say, ‘why shouldn’t everyone get more’ then we’ll wind up having this constitutional amendment put in making our businesses noncompetitive with our neighbors and reducing opportunities for the people of New Jersey to get good paying jobs like the ones that are here, with good benefits and a bright future for their families. This is the siren song of, you know, I’ll give you something now for nothing. We know in this country, no one gets anything for nothing. Someone else is paying. And I remind people of that all the time, it’s not my money, it’s yours.