The Oregon Natural Resources Report - Agricultural News from Oregon

The media and the minimum wage hike

January 6, 2009

Posted by Curt Kipp,
Oregon Association of Nurseries, Daily Digger Blog

It’s a familiar pattern: new year, new minimum wage. In Oregon, the state-mandated hourly rate is now $8.40, up 45 cents from $7.95 in 2008. Under Oregon law, the wage rises each year, automatically, based on increases in the consumer price index. As one might expect, many papers did stories on the new minimum wage, asking whether it is a blessing or a burden:

* Capital Press (Salem, Ore.)
* Beaverton Valley Times
* Bend Bulletin
* Mail-Tribune (Medford, Ore.)

Proponents say the wage hikes pumps more money back into local economies by increasing compensation for those who need it most (and are most likely to spend it). But the law, which was approved by voter initiative in 2002, has its critics. Groups such as the Oregon Farm Bureau and the Oregon Association of Nurseries say it’s too much of a burden on Oregon’s agricultural producers, who must compete against states where the wage is lower. Further, they say the increase is based on what’s happening in Oregon’s largest cities and ignores the realities in rural areas. Even in cities, small business owners struggling in the current economy are critical.

The Oregon Restaurant Association has announced it will push during the 2009 legislative session to end the automatic index-based increase. We blogged about that idea a few months ago; see this video for comments from OAN Director of Government Relations Jeff Stone.

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Discuss this article

Ned January 6, 2009

If you want to seriously help the economy — fix the minimum wage. How are people suppossed to hire more people if the cost of hiring one person becomes beyond what is needed? It does not make sense.

Sybella September 21, 2009

I hire minimum wage employees. Many of them have commented they wish it would quit raising every year because their cost of living goes up so much with every raise they can’t get ahead, in fact some feel they are losing ground. I would love to pay the good workers more, but the finances just aren’t there.

I would rather pay the poor worker less and give his raise to the better ones. The law takes that option away.

It isn’t the amount of dollars they receive but the value of those dollars. Their dollars don’t have much value. Unless something is done to stop this artificial inflating of wages it can only go on. Ned is right. This needs fixed. If it isn’t I will guaratee you in a few years we’ll all be on minimum wage making $36.00 an hour.

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