PORTLAND — The lowest paid workers got a small raise overnight as thirteen states increased their minimum wage on the first day of the new year.
Washington and Oregon have the highest rates in the nation. Oregon’s minimum wage went up 15 cents to $9.10 an hour, and in Washington it increased 13 cents to $9.32. The states are the first to require employers to pay more than $9/hour. 21 states now exceed the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
“That’s all based on the 2002 voter-passed initiative that ties increases in our minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index,” said Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian.
The CPI has climbed 1.5% since August 2012.
About 98,000 Oregon workers are affected. Those who work thirty hours per week are expected to get an extra $234 in their pockets. The increase is expected to boost the state’s economy by over $20 million.
Some believe that the wages hurt small businesses. To that Avakian says: “That just has not proven to be the case in Oregon. In fact since 2002, we’ve seen the number of small businesses increase”.
He says other states, and now Congress are looking at Oregon as a national model.