North Jersey businesses question $15 minimum wage

BY Leah Mishkin, Correspondent |

Ace Reprographics Service in Paterson first opened doors in 1933 as a blueprint printing company and has been adapting ever since. Owner Arthur Scialla said his small business has expanded into graphics, among other things, to keep up with times.

Scialla and others were invited to share their concerns with Rep. Bill Pascrell at a meeting for members of the congressman’s small business advisory council.

Despite other issues like rising taxes, the number one issue brought up by business owners from Hudson, Bergen and Passaic Counties was the rising minimum wage. The current minimum wage is $10 an hour in the state and will go up $1 a year for most workers until it reaches $15 in 2024. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

People expressed concern about the unintended consequences raising the minimum wage will have on small businesses.

“$15 an hour minimum wage is fantastic but the reality is it costs a lot more than that for business owner because you have benefits, you have workers comp, you have everything else that goes with it. So $15 an hour is probably somewhere around $18-19 an hour depending on the benefits the employees get,” Scialla said. “Eventually it’s something we’re going to have to look at. Do we need to eliminate jobs or can we pick up more business to sustain it?”

The congressman says he does not believe increasing the minimum wage will mean the cut of jobs. As the saying goes, only time will tell.