Mr. Chairman Holvey and members of the committee,

As Executive Director of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, I, Jerome Rosa, ask you to please vote no on HB 2012. Oregon’s minimum wage is currently at $9.25 per hour and as such, is the second highest minimum wage in America.

Increasing minimum wage with a goal of $15 per hour will devastate Oregon’s economy and discourage job growth. Small businesses will be forced to go through additional rounds of layoffs due to their inability to sustain their current amount of employees at the proposed increase. Larger businesses may be able to keep their staff, but will likely be forced to reduce an array of benefits which will ultimately hurt Oregon families.

Agricultural businesses that help make Oregon into the great, green state it is will be harmed by this increase. Many of the smaller operations will lose a large amount of employees and will see production decrease. Because of this, some commodities may look into transferring their operations to other states, such as Idaho, where they can afford to keep production thriving.

Minimum wage jobs are excellent opportunities for high school youth to dabble in the work world. If HB 2012 goes through, these young people will not find opportunities to join the work force as they have in the past. One example of this that I have been made aware of comes from Center Pivot Irrigation and Linear Irrigation Systems. The company says they will not be able to extend the job opportunities they have in the past to Oregon’s youth if minimum wage rates increase due to lack of funds.

Additionally, we fear cost of living will increase due to companies raising their products prices in order to be able to afford paying their staff. A person who was once able to make a living off of a salary of $30,000 per year, will no longer be able to afford their current living situation and will not see an increase in their salary.

Our beloved president Abraham Lincoln once said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” As you can see from the points above, implementing as drastic of an increase as HB 2012 calls for will harm, if not destroy Oregon’s economy. On behalf of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association’s producers, I ask you to vote no on HB 2012.

Sincerely,

Oregon Cattlemen’s Association