Minimum wage could skyrocket

By on Monday, March 8th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PENDLETON – Umatilla County Board of Commissioners Chairman George Murdock says he is deeply concerned about a bill in Salem that would increase Oregon’s minimum wage to $17 an hour in July 2022. Currently, the state is divided in to three regions, with the Portland metro area paying the highest minimum wage, standard counties paying less, and rural counties paying the least.

This bill would yank all three of those categories up to $17. House Bill 3155 is sponsored by five Democrats. It has not yet been assigned to a committee.

I know from talking to people who are in business that they just can’t afford to pay that,” Murdock said.

He added that young people seeking their first jobs would also be hurt.

“That’s your first opportunity to get some work experience, but in return the person who’s hiring you has to get some value out of it,” he said. “They can’t afford to start you at that kind of a wage.”

Minimum wage is raised annually based on the consumer price index. It is currently $11.50 an hour in rural areas, $12 an hour in standard counties, and $13.25 in the Portland metro. Small increases are scheduled to occur on July 1 for all three regions.