By Cleve Bryan
DEPTFORD, N.J. (CBS)–Collecting shopping carts at a large chain store, Andrew Higginbotham says it’s hard to live off his pay $8.65 per hour.
“You can’t, you’re just in debt and that’s why young people are living at home just older and older cause they can’t get on their feet.”
Higginbotham is hoping when New Jersey increases the minimum wage a dollar to $8.25 an hour on January 1st it will eventually bump up his pay too.
“It would mean a lot, a dollar doesn’t seem like that much but it really would help.”
A Constitutional amendment to increase the minimum wage with automatic yearly hikes easily passed on the ballot this fall, but there is still debate whether it will help or hurt the state overall.
Quiana Louis, a restaurant hostess, says, “Well I think it’s a good thing as far as money but I think it’s a bad thing because everything else is going to go up. So food and gas and everything else we need is going to go up.”
Several groups representing New Jersey businesses have strongly opposed the minimum wage increase saying it will cause layoffs and slow down future hiring.
That could be especially bad news for 93,000 New Jerseyians who expect to have federal unemployment benefits cut on Saturday.
“This is about helping working class people.”
New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney has heard all the criticisms but believes the increase in minimum wage will stimulate the state economy by putting more money in the hands of people ready to spend it.
“When you give to people on the lower end of the spectrum they spend it. The ultra rich they’re not spending it, they’re socking it away”
Andrew Higginbotham says if he got more money collecting carts he’d find plenty of ways to spend it.