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  • Why Oregon Will Not Be Raising Its Minimum Wage This Year

    Oregon’s minimum wage will not go up in 2016 state officials announced Wednesday, making this the first time in six years the wage will not rise.

    The minimum wage will remain at $9.25 going into 2016, because inflation did not rise high enough this year to trigger an increase, reported The Associated Press. A law passed in 2002 has allowed the state minimum wage to go up automatically each year since 2010, based on inflation.

    Inflation in the state actually fell this year, likely because of falling gas prices, reported The Register-Guard. The problem is this may not account for other costs people have to face, like rising rent.

    “A low-income family has got to buy food,” Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian told The Associated press. “They’ve also got to pay skyrocketing rent in Portland and Eugene.”

    Avakian argued state lawmakers should raise the minimum wage to $13.50 an hour, which would be the highest of any state, because the inflation trigger isn’t accurately accounting for the costs of living.

    Some states, such as New York, are looking into going as high as $15 an hour but have yet to pass any measures. Currently, the highest minimum wage in the country is $15 an hour, but that has only been passed in some cities.

    Since 2009, the federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour. Some contend it should be higher, because it would help poor people afford basic necessities. Critics contend an increase would actually hurt the poor by limiting job opportunities.

    If the cost of labor goes up, employers may become less likely to hire more people. This is particularly true for low-skilled workers who may not have the ability to produce as much revenue as higher-skilled workers. The Congressional Budget Office says an increase of the minimum wage will likely result in at least some job loss.

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