Higher minimum wage hurts oregon



Just like a wolf in sheep skin Oregon Senate Bill 1532 has produced a veneer that will deal a lethal blow to Oregon’s economy.
On March second Governor Kate signed a bill that will greatly increase Oregon’s minimum wage by the year 2022. This bill will begin to take effect on July first when minimum wage increases from $9.25 an hour to $9.75 an hour, which will be $2.25 higher than the federal minimum wage.

The bill plans to have three different tiers of minimum wage gradually increasing throughout the state until 2022. The three different areas are the rural areas which will increase to $12.50, a base wage of $13.50 which will include cities such as Eugene and Bend. The third wage will be in the Portland area and will increase to $14.75.

According to USA Today Governor Brown made this bill her top priority in 2016 in hopes of helping working Oregonians afford basic necessities.

However, raising minimum wage gives many small business owners tough choices to make if they don’t want to take a hit by paying each employee and average of $20 for each week of work. To compensate for the increased wage small business owners will have to cut jobs, increase prices or do both.

Increased minimum wage will also make life harder for everyone in Oregon who is not getting a pay raise. When Minimum wage goes up so does the cost of living. If businesses have to pay more they will also charge more.

According to USA Today when congress voted to raise minimum wage to $7.25 an hour the price of groceries increased 20%, gas prices rose 25% and the average community college tuition went up 44%.

Oregon’s public universities will also take a big hit because of minimum wage and are being forced to increases tuition costs in the fall due to wage increases.

The University of Oregon has recently voted to increase their in-state tuition by 4.8% for in state students in the fall.

According to the Register Guard the University of Oregon expects the new wage to cost them $432,779 more in 2017 alone.

The Register Guard stated that Oregon State University has more than 7,800 student employees and plans to cut anywhere from 650-700 positions by 2019. This would leave many students without a job and make it much more difficult for them to pay their newly increased tuition.

College students are the future of our state and if they do not have a job it will make it much more difficult to pay off their college which could leave them trapped in student loan debt.

Many of the states that are thriving in the United States have a minimum wage that is far below Oregon’s. five of the ten states with the lowest unemployment in the nation have the federal minimum wage which is $7.25 an hour. The average minimum wage of the ten states with the lowest unemployment is $8.09 which is much lower than Oregon’s current wage.

This shows that states can do very well economically without a high minimum wage. Oregon should be focusing on creating more jobs for the unemployed rather than raising wages for the few minimum wage employees.

The benefits for the few Oregonians who will receive a small wage increase does not outweigh the increased cost of living and tuition for the rest of the state.