Senator Vin Gopal Discusses Municipality Consolidation
Sen. Vin Gopal (D) – NJ, 11th Legislative District, sits down with Steve Adubato to discuss several legislative goals including eliminating school districts and consolidating municipalities to cut spending. Gopal also shares his thoughts on the minimum wage increase and how this will affect small businesses.
"State Senator Vin Gopal represents the 11th Legislative District, all in Monmouth County, New Jersey. And we thank you for joining us. Thanks for having me. Congratulations on joining the upper house in the State Legislature. Thank you. Real quick, let's jump into issues. You have been very outspoken on the issue of the $15 an hour minimum wage. As we speak, it's not a reality. You believe we need some exemptions in it, and is that also because you are a businessperson? Yeah. I'll tell you, when I started my business over ten years ago, if I had a... What kind of business? I have a marketing company. And we had two retail stores. And if we had a $15 an hour minimum wage - as a business owner, I put money into my business every year - we wouldn't have survived. Today, I have 14 employees, they all have good benefits, good healthcare, so I just don't like treating a corporation that's making record profits the same as a coffee shop or ice cream parlor that's in Asbury Park or Red Bank. You sound like a Republican. [laughter] You're a Democrat? I'm a Democrat. And there's a lot of Democrats that feel this way. You do think that? Yeah, oh absolutely. I... this is led by the Senate President. Steve Sweeney feels that way, absolutely. I know he wants to see exemptions. So the governor wants to see that $15 an hour minimum wage? You think it's going to be challenging if that happens? Yeah, and I think the Governor even recently has said that we should potentially have some exemptions. So I think we've got to look at that. We don't want anyone to go out of business. Senator... clearly not. You have talked a lot about climate change? Yeah. Very real? Yeah. Very important. Particularly in the district you represent. Talk about it. Well you know, this has been bipartisan against offshore drilling from the federal government. We've seen it all over the country. What's happened in the Gulf and other places. And we're surrounded right on the Atlantic Ocean, Long Branch, Asbury Park, huge economy, huge tourism. Hmm. If one bad accident happens, we're in trouble. The Governor, even though he has, as we do this program, the budget will be... his budget address will be critical. It's clear that he supports the millionaire's tax. Increasing taxes on those who earn a million dollars or more. You say? I don't want to see tax increases right now. I think we've got to look. It's got to be the last resort. Something I talked about the entire campaign was New Jersey's addiction to government..."