The city of Portland, Oregon is about to get hit hard with reality after a bill, voted on by the citizens of Portland voted on referendum to raise the minimum wage to $19.50 an hour. Can you imagine burger flippers making nearly twenty dollars an hour? But, not for long. McDonald’s cannot get ten dollars for a Big Mac. I suspect fast-food franchises will be deserting the city by the time the minimum wage hits its final tally.
The minimum wage as of yesterday was $12.15 an hour. That is now $13.00 dollars an hour. In 2024 it goes to $15.00. But, there is a provision that says when a city or state declares a state of emergency all workers will get 1 1/2 pay. That means the $13.00 becomes $19.50 and the $15.00 will become $22.50. How many businesses can afford to pay that especially as cities and states are constantly declaring a state of emergency over COVID?
Of course, those businesses could just move to another city in Oregon but there is no guaranty that those cities won’t adopt the same policy. If they are smart, they will relocate to Texas or Florida, where they would not have the same fears. Portland has already lost businesses and workers because of the antifa riots and this could be the final nail in the coffin.
The Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce announced:
“Large chains will be able to absorb the added costs of a $19.50 minimum wage, but small businesses in Portland will not be able to absorb these costs without direct increases in prices or cuts to services and staff. This strikes directly at our local economic self-reliance and makes it just that much harder for local organizations to compete.”
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CycleBar fitness business owner Julie Marchese told the City Council that, since the pandemic, her traffic is down by more than half and that because of the new minimum wage she would likely have to “lay off all my employees, including my manager, and work all the hours myself because I don’t get paid,” the Journal reported.
The co-owner of Coffee Me Up, Alba Zakja, said paying $19.50 per hour would likely mean she would have to leave Portland. This after she used her 2019 profits to give raises to employees, even as her business took a major hit during the pandemic, the Journal said.