Gov. Kate Brown has signed a landmark bill that would make Oregon's minimum wage the highest in the country.
Beginning on Jan. 1, the base state minimum wage will jump to $9.75. Then, through 2022, the wages would rise in three geographic areas, with the Portland area reach the $14.75 mark.
"Today we can say Oregonians are truly better off. SB 1532 is a path forward — so working families can catch up, and businesses have time to plan for the increase," Brown said in a statement. "That’s the Oregon Way.”
But the National Federation of Independent Business, a leading voice for small businesses, immediately said the measure would cost jobs.
“It’s bad enough that this unfortunate law will prompt small-business owners to halt hiring, start cutting back hours for workers, start eliminating overtime, or even make layoffs, but her silence on the ballot initiative only adds to the anxiety Oregon’s entrepreneurs are already experiencing," said Anthony Smith, NFIB's Oregon state director, in a release.
Nonprofits are also leery of the bill, with PHAME Academy's Stephen Marc Beaudoin writing, in a PBJ column, last month that it would force nonprofits to reexamine their business models.
The House had voted 32-26 in favor of the bill while the Oregon Senate passed the bill last week with a 16-12 vote along party lines.
Tom Chamberlain, president of the Oregon AFL-CIO and Andrea Paluso, Executive Director of Family Forward Oregon, said the measure will greatly benefit families.
"Our coalition formed over a year ago and we expanded our efforts after legislators took no action to raise wages in the 2015 session. We were united by the common belief that no one who works hard should struggle to feed their family or pay their bills, and we were determined to secure a raise for workers in 2016," the duo said in a joint statement.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez also noted in a statement he believes the bill will give hundreds of thousands of Oregonians a well-deserved raise and a little piece of mind, while giving a boost to local economies."
Source- Portland Business Journal