Pair of minimum wage measures to be on 2016 ballot

One initiative would raise the wage floor to $13.50 an hour; the other, $15.

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Raising the minimum wage is primed to be a key issue for Oregonians in the upcoming legislative session and election.

A pair of measures are emerging and will be on the 2016 ballot: One initiative would raise the wage floor to $13.50 an hour, the other $15.

Raise the Wage, a coalition of labor, business and community groups, found $13.50 an hour to be a number that would lead to a “self sufficiency wage” for Oregon’s rural communities. Lifting preemption restrictions would allow urban areas with higher costs of living to raise their minimum wage above the $13.50 wage floor, much like Seattle, which has a $15 an hour minimum wage.

During a press conference at the Capitol on Monday, individuals representing Raise the Wage coalition groups spoke in support of the ballot measure. They made statements about the reality of raising costs for business owners while also putting more money in the pockets of consumers through higher wages.

(SOURCE: Statesman Journal)

The legislature will take up the issue in February.

House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, told reporters Monday she would back a bill that would end the preemption for local governments to set their own minimum wage and would raise the minimum wage to $13.50, calling the number “a base wage that helps people meet their needs.”

“We already know that if you’re working full time at minimum wage, you are living below the poverty line,” Kotek said. “I think one of the top priorities for February will be the minimum wage discussion.”

(SOURCE: Bend Bulletin)

If any of these measures passed, Oregon would have the highest minimum wage in the country.

Oregon’s current minimum wage is the second highest in the nation behind Washington state’s. The national inflation index which determines whether Oregon’s wage will increase was flat this year, meaning minimum wage workers won’t see a state-mandated raise next year.

Low-wage workers in Washington will find out later this week how much their state’s minimum wage will go up next year to account for inflation. Washington’s minimum wage is currently $9.47 per hour.

(SOURCE: Northwest News Network)

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