By Ian Bush

TRENTON, NJ (CBS) — The New Jersey Assembly has given final approval to a bill that would raise the hourly minimum wage in the state above the federal mark for the first time since 2005. But, the measure faces an uncertain future.

Governor Chris Christie has indicated he’s open to upping the rate from $7.25, but wonders — after Hurricane Sandy — whether this is the right time.

That’s echoed by Monmouth County Republican Caroline Casagrande.

“Now is not the time that I can go back to my district — to these businesses who’ve had massive losses and say, ‘Hey, I need you to pay a higher payroll this month. I need you to squeeze out a few extra dollars, even though you might have lost your inventory and you might have lost a couple weeks of business, here’s one more requirement from the state.'”

This bill would raise the minimum wage to $8.50 next year, and would set automatic increases — based on inflation — after that.

Middlesex County Democrat John Wisniewski is one of the sponsors.

“A $2,000 change in a salary over 52 weeks is not going to put my small business in jeopardy, or any small business in jeopardy,” Wisniewski argues. “But it is an opportunity for all of us to understand that we share in the responsibility of making sure that all of us have an opportunity to share in the American dream.”

He wants the issue on the ballot next November if Christie uses his veto stamp.