HACKENSACK — Gov.-elect Phil Murphy ran on a campaign platform of raising the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour. But county government workers in Bergen won't have to wait for him to take office in January.

Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco signed an executive order on Tuesday raising the minimum wage for the county government's payroll, the first county to do so, NorthJersey.com reported.

The move will help 129 employees and cost the county less than $400,000 this year, according to NorthJersey.com.

During his first post-election appearance on Monday, Murphy said raising the minimum wage for private sectors workers remains "high on the priority list as anything we’ve got."

Murphy said he would like to see the minimum wage rise to $15 over a period of three to four years.

The minimum wage is already set to rise in January — from $8.44 an hour to $8.60 as a result of a 2013 state constitutional amendment that pegged increases to rises in inflation.

Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, has opposed any effort by the Democratic Legislature to raise the wage to $15, a number set by national progressive labor campaigns. Last year he vetoed a bill that would have raised it to $15 over five years.

Opponents of a drastic wage hike, including New Jersey Business and Industry Association, say a $15 wage would hurt businesses and lead to job losses. Murphy, a millionaire former financial executive, says those criticisms are myths.

Republican legislators said after Murphy's landslide win that they would consider voting for a lesser minimum wage hike if Democrats agreed to lowering income taxes for middle-class families.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email sergio.bichao@townsquaremedia.com.

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