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Economy | local | Think Out Loud

Do Minimum Wage Increases Help The Poor?

Beginning in January 2014, Oregon’s minimum wage will increase by 15 cents per hour to $9.10. Since voters approved Ballot Measure 25 in 2002, Oregon’s minimum wage has been tied to the Consumer Price Index, meaning that the minimum wage adjusts anually in step with inflation. Many national legislators have lauded Oregon’s success under this policy, as evidenced by Oregon Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian’s recent testimony (pdf) before Congress in defense of a bill modeled on Oregon’s example.  

While proponents of the increase point to a projected $20 million consumer spending increase that will result from the up-tick, others argue that increasing the minimum wage does little to fight poverty. Furthermore, detractors argue that the energy and funds would be more wisely invested in training and apprenticeship programs to help low-income workers increase their job prospects.

Do you, or have you worked for the minimum wage? Do you own a business that employs workers for minimum wage? What questions do you have about the new increase?

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OPB | Broadcast: Sept. 18, 2013