Linking the wage to Consumer Price Index makes abundant senseSome lobbies speak more loudly than others. That is why the Oregon Legislature is holding hearings on revising the minimum wage statute which voters passed in the November election. Motivated by the restaurant and agricultural lobbies, Republican legislators want to revisit an aspect of this law which ties an annual increase of the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Restaurant owners and farmers are telling the legislature that in this rough economy, they cannot afford added labor costs.

Prior to the November election, Oregon had the lowest minimum wage among the West Coast states, including Alaska. Washington has tied its minimum wage to the CPI.

As Republican legislators should have learned from their attempted nullification of the Death With Dignity Act, it is dangerous to mess with a ballot initiative.

The bill to remove the annual CPI indexing of the minimum wage passed the House Business and Labor Committee by a 4-3 vote. The Republican-dominated House will likely pass the legislation.

Tying the minimum wage to the cost of living makes abundant sense. It would be an act of very bad faith to strip that provision from the law that voters have enacted.


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