BEND, OR -- While a proposal to increase Oregon’s minimum wage awaits a vote in the full House, a group of local small business owners aired their opposition to the bill, Tuesday night. The bill would create three wage tiers: $14.75 in the Portland area, $13.50 in semi-urban areas including Bend, and $12.50 for rural areas.
Former Bend City Councilor and owner of Sun Mountain Fun Center Scott Ramsey participated in Tuesday's Deschutes Republicans panel discussion. He says a higher minimum wage could mean reduced hours of operation. “So, the bottom line for us is that upwards of 31.5% increase in labor costs. That’s just on our employees that we have in our businesses.”
Ramsey says his suppliers will see the same labor cost increases and will pass it along to his business. “Imagine now, that everybody who is going to bring soda to our facility and paper to our facility is going to have the same 31% increase that we have. So now, in addition to the 31% increase in payroll, we’re going to have four, five, six, 10% increase in our cost of goods.”
Oregon’s minimum wage is now $9.25; the eighth highest in the nation and two dollars higher than the federal minimum.