Sen. Close’s Terrible Idea To Go After The Minimum Wage

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For politicians and would-be politicians, going after the minimum wage has never been a smart move. Voters strongly support increasing the wage—and yet, Republicans just can’t help themselves from attacking those who make poverty wages.

Betsy CloseSen. Betsy Close (R-Albany) is touting a new bill that would allow businesses to pay teenagers less than minimum wage. That means that employers could pay kids less than they pay their adult counterparts, and that’s clearly a violation of the spirit of Oregon’s lauded minimum wage law.

Remember how well that worked out for former candidate for Oregon governor, Chris Dudley (before he moved to California)? He proposed a sub-minimum wage for certain workers, and it lost him the election.

Sen. Close’s bill has an extra provision that makes it an even worse deal for the general public: Taxpayers would subsidize the employees’ pay up to the minimum wage level.

So, not only do businesses get to pay their employees sub-minimum wage incomes, but the rest of us get to cover the labor costs of employers who choose to pay less than the minimum wage.

Last year, lawmakers passed a bill that lowers the tax rate for business owners, so that they will pay a lower tax rate than their employees.

It’s another all-too-common example of Republicans’ single-note governing strategy: More tax cuts and handouts for big corporations, paid for by the rest of us taxpayers.

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