Kotek to make late push for minimum wage hike

Portland Democrat aims to introduce proposal before legislative session ends.

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Portland Democrat and House speaker Tina Kotek aims to introduce proposal before end of legislative session.

“The rationale for that is that we need to look at doing something with the statewide minimum-wage floor. We have to raise that floor so that people working full time can be out of poverty,” the Portland Democrat told reporters Monday. “But there are some parts of the state that have a higher cost of living, such as the (Portland) metropolitan area. So if you want a statewide minimum-wage floor that is higher than what we have, it would be fair for communities to raise it above that.”

Kotek, however, declined to specify the top statewide rate or the length of the phase-in period in her proposal. She said only that she hoped to unveil it as a “starting point.” Oregon’s minimum wage is $9.25 per hour, second only to Washington’s $9.47 as the highest among the states. It increases annually based on the Consumer Price Index under a ballot measure that voters approved back in 2002.

(SOURCE: Portland Tribune)

Under a law passed in 2001, local jurisdictions are prohibited from establishing their own minimum wages.

“Whatever number we figure out for the state probably needs to be higher in Portland,” Kotek said.

Activists have been pressuring the Legislature to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Democrats already introduced more than a dozen bills early in the session to increase it to between $10 and $15 an hour, but none had enough support to make it out of committee. Democrats, with wide majorities in the House and Senate, could pass an increase without Republican support. Kotek said she thinks the proposal is “doable” this session, even though the Legislature has only a month left before adjourning.

(SOURCE: OregonLive.com)


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