Volume 5/Issue 21

  • Potential Gubernatorial Candidate Launches Statewide Political Organization
  • Senate President's Secure Choice Retirement Savings Plan Passes Committee
  • Minimum Wage to Remain at $8.38 an Hour
  • Top Iowa Republicans Back Gov. Christie

Potential Gubernatorial Candidate Launches Statewide Political Organization

Phil Murphy, the former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, former CEO of Goldman Sachs and potential candidate for governor, launched “New Way for New Jersey” last week, a 527 political organization designed to “promote a progressive middle-class agenda among Democrats in New Jersey.”

According its website, “New Way for New Jersey” will commence a multi-million dollar television, mail and field organizing effort centered on creating jobs brining jobs to the long-term unemployed, increasing the minimum wage and passing paid sick leave, rebuilding the State’s infrastructure, making college affordable and providing equal pay for equal work.

Ambassador Murphy will serve as the chair of “New Way for New Jersey,” which will help increase his profile to potential voters by giving him a platform to speak on key issues that could arise in the 2017 governor’s race. However, the organization, by law, cannot be organized to support the election of any particular candidate, nor can it make political contributions.

Senate President's Secure Choice Retirement Savings Plan Passes Committee

Legislation sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney to provide workers without employer-sponsored pension plans the ability to prepare for financial security in retirement passed the Senate Labor Committee yesterday. The bill targets the growing number of businesses, especially the growing number of small businesses, that don’t provide retirement plans for their employees.

Under S2821, companies with 25 or more employees would be required to offer professionally-managed plans to their workers. The savings program would offer companies the ability to establish individual retirement accounts for their employees, allowing them to make automatic payments from their paychecks.

The program would be overseen by a seven-member Secure Choice Savings Board, comprised of financial experts appointed by the governor, the Senate President and Assembly Speaker. The savings fund would be outside and apart from other state funds.

"The voluntary program will be convenient, low-cost and portable, so that employees can take it with them if they change jobs. It will make use of professional investors but it won't cost the taxpayers anything because it is self-sustaining," said Senator Sweeney.

Minimum Wage to Remain at $8.38 an Hour

The NJ Department of Labor announced last week that the State’s minimum wage rate would remain at the current $8.38 an hour. The Department’s determination is based on U.S. Department of Labor data comparing CPI rates for workers between August 2014 and August 2015.

Voters approved a raise in the State’s minimum wage in 2013. The constitutional amendment approved by the voters provides annual cost of living increases based on increases in the consumer price index (CPI) or if the federal minimum wage is raised above the state rate.

The Department’s announcement comes at the same time some local governing bodies, including the Essex County Freeholder Board, have called on the State to follow the lead of Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, who have raised their minimum wage rate to $15 per hour.

Top Iowa Republicans Back Gov. Christie

Key Iowa Republicans, including the Speaker of the State House of Representatives, other legislators, current and former county party chairmen and business leaders joined Governor Christie’s Iowa presidential campaign last week.

“The Governor's record of conservative reforms in one of the bluest states in the nation is unique and impressive,” said Kraig Paulsen, Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives. He went on to say, “Governor Christie's political courage and strong leadership skills are needed in Washington, and I firmly believe that he is the candidate to lead our party in 2016 and beyond."

The endorsements come as Governor Christie has seen an uptick in polling Iowa from 2% to 4%, which puts the Governor in the top 10 of all candidates.