SALEM, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — Gov. Kate Brown unveiled a plan Thursday for a two-tiered minimum wage in the state.
The proposal, released on the same day of a 6 p.m. public hearing on the issue at the Capitol, would gradually boost the minimum from $9.25 to $15.52 in 2022 only in the Greater Portland area.
Housing prices and cost of living have prompted researchers from one Portland-area think tank to describe the need for a higher minimum as “urgent.”
“The costs of essentials such as food, child care, and rent are rising so fast that wages can’t keep up,” Brown said in a statement. “Many Oregonians working full-time can’t make ends meet, and that’s not right.”
In the rest of the state, the plan would hike the minimum to $10.25 in 2017 and $13.50 by 2022.
After 2022, the minimum would return to increasing in conjunction with Consumer Price Index, the governor’s office said.
The proposal will be presented to the Legislature during their 35-day session in February and March.
The proposal was shaped through conversations with stakeholders in the public and private sectors. The plan is separate from a proposal by Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, that also would set different regional minimums around the state, said Chris Pair, a press secretary in Brown’s office.
Another proposal out of the House Committee on Business and Labor would mimic a union-backed ballot initiative that would raise the minimum to $13.50 around the state and give cities and counties authority to set a higher minimum.
Brown’s office indicated the plan is intended to give businesses more certainty and time to plan than a ballot initiative process would allow.
Another ballot initiative that has collected nearly 40,000 signatures would have set the statewide minimum to $15. Those petitioners have said they’ll move forward with their initiative unless the Legislature sets a $15 minimum or higher in the Portland metro area.
The Portland Tribune is a KOIN media affiliate.