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Oregon’s new minimum wage will create ‘tough choices’ for public universities

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

   Andrew Theen, The Oregonian/oregonlive The Oregonian

As Oregon lawmakers celebrated passage of a historic minimum wage hike last week, leaders at each of the seven public universities were pulling out their calculators.

Oregon’s four-year universities collectively pay thousands of mostly student workers the minimum wage…

…Minimum wage [increases] will cost PSU [Portland State University] an estimated $2.5 million more during the biennium…

At the University of Oregon…the new wage will cost an extra $432,779 to implement during the 2017 fiscal year alone…

For the Beavers [Oregon State University], the extra wages due to students in the next biennium would be at least $4.8 million…

By the 2019 fiscal year, [OSU spokesman] Clark said, the school could look at reducing the number of student jobs by 650 to 700 positions to cut costs…

We Respond & Your Comments

As much as we hate to see kids lose jobs, especially when universities are raising tuition, we have to ask the kids, professors and administrators, most of whom were probably for the minimum wage hike, “Just what in the (insert your favorite word here) did you think was going to happen?”

It’s still Iron Rule of Economics #1: When you raise the price of something (in this case labor) you decrease demand for it.

We predicted this. Now we extract from our crystal ball two more predictions: 1) This is just the beginning; 2) By July 4 these universities will be begging the Legislature for a minimum wage exemption because “It’s just not fair to the kids.” Wanna bet against us?


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