SALEM, OR -- Republicans in the Oregon Senate fought to stop a minimum wage bill, but failed because they were outnumbered by Democrats. Senator Fred Girod (R-Stayton) says it's another example of Portland Democrats cramming legislation down the rest of the state. "There’s going to be a price to pay and I think Harney County is the tip of the iceberg. People are really, really getting angry, and you need to be aware of that."
The bill passed the Senate on a party line vote, despite seven motions by Republicans to stop it. Senator Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg) says it will hurt small businesses and their employees. "Wouldn’t it be reasonable that we put some accommodation in the tax code so we wouldn’t see small businesses having to lay off employees because of the increased cost that this minimum wage is going to create."
Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) issued a statement following Thursday's vote, expressing his disappointment that an amendment was excluded that would have prevented Legislators from benefiting from the increase. "Senate Democrats voted to condemn countless small businesses across the state, raise daycare costs for all Oregon families, force employers to lay off workers, and increase costs for senior programs," Senator Knopp said. "At the same time, Senate Democrats voted to raise their own wage."
If approved, the bill would create three separate minimum wage regions in the state: The bottom tier for rural Oregon would be $12.50 an hour. The second tier would be $13.50, and the top tier, in the Portland area, would be $14.75. All regions would see rates increase over the next six years. The bill now moves to the House.