Oregon missed a unique opportunity — one that is only available about once every 50 years — and our unelected Governor and her team of Democrats blew it. What am I talking about? The new 2016 Minimum Wage Law.
Recently, Seattle raised its minimum wage to $15/hour. California did as well. What if Oregon’s only action would have been to eliminate a state mandated minimum wage — where the minimum wage would have fallen to the Federal level of $7.25/hour? Think about this for a moment. If you were a medium to large business, looking to expand on the West Coast, which State would you pick? Washington or California? No. Oregon would be the sweet spot, offering the most flexibility for employers with a minimum wage over 50% less than its neighbors.
Politicians (and want-to-be politicians) claim they can create jobs. This is non-sense. Legislators, Commissioners, and Governors do not create jobs that generate wealth (the kind of jobs necessary to propel an economy forward). Elected officials can only create an environment for private businesses who decide the reward is greater than the risk and invest capital in a certain location. The only way elected officials create a business friendly environment is to lower taxes, lesson regulations, and give employers the maximum flexibility when it comes to employee compensation.
Again, think of the scenario above — where Oregon did not raise the minimum wage or actually eliminated it. Manufacturers in both California and Washington, who are now scrambling to move their businesses because it is too expensive to operate in these extremely-high minimum wage territories, would cherry-pick Oregon. Moreover the general cost of living would be significantly less expensive in Oregon when compared to California and Seattle.
That is why, if elected, I will work to repeal the new minimum wage law passed in the 2016 short session (as an “emergency” bill by the way), and also strive to eliminate the State minimum wage. It is pure arrogance that 91 people in Salem think they know what is best in every employer/employee relationship throughout all of Oregon, and then dictate what wages should be paid. Remember, if we grant Salem the power to determine a minimum wage, what flows next are maximum and median wages. That is no joke. By ceding authority to the State of Oregon to determine a minimum wages for all, we also cede authority to determine other wages as well.
If we want Oregon to grow and thrive, an important step is to make Oregon the most business friendly state on the west coast. And to do that, we need to eliminate Salem-mandated wages.