How do New Jersey economists feel about the idea to raise the minimum hourly wage to $15? We asked a few of them.

Scott Rothbort, professor of finance at Seton Hall University, says he doesn't believe the government should be fixing any prices, whether it be labor costs or rent control.

"I believe that the markets should take care of pricing. The law of supply and demand should."

But Mitchell Koza, a professor at Rutgers Business School in Newark and New Brunswick, says, "from a humanitarian point of view, from and equality point of view, it is something that is audible."

According to Koza, "you cannot support people, you cannot support a family on the existing minimum wage." He says he thinks that it is an experiment that should be tried.

"Too many people in our state are suffering."

Rider University economist Herbert Gishlick warns the $15 minimum wage will hurt low wage earners and force higher prices.

"I tend to think of that proposal as being a bad idea in that, in effect, it reflects a structural change in the economy. Somebody has to pay a higher minimum wage, and don't think that it won't have repercussions," Gishlick says.

"It is either going to be paid in the form of people who cannot find jobs, especially less skilled, low wage workers, our teenagers looking for summer jobs and so forth."

And fellow Rider economist Maury Randall, chairman of the school's Finance Department, says it will cause, "more unemployment, and I think the bad effects would outweigh the good."

"If you raise the minimum wage, particularly where it is to 15, a number of people are going to see their hours cut, and that will impose a hardship. Also, we have a high level of minority unemployment, particularly the younger people, teenagers, people with low skills. If you are going to raise the minimum wage, if they do have a job, it is going to make it more difficult for them to keep the job.

"They are going to be particularly vulnerable. Or if they are looking for a job, it is going to be more difficult for them to get a job than it was before."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5

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