2007 Begins with a Price Tag

As of today Oregon’s minimum wage now jumps to $7.80, keeping our state among the highest minimum wages in the nation (our cure for our high unemployment?). Right behind that Portland General Electric and Pacific Power are switching on a utility rate increase. Pacific Power is doing a 5% increase and PGE with a +2.6% homes and +5.2% for businesses with two more bonus increases before spring. Oregon’s new mental health parity law also takes effect, with a new mandate requiring insurance companies to cover people’s mental health expenses just like traditional physical health expenses. Mental health adds scores of new mandated coverage such as drug addiction. Undoubtedly, this will cause health rates to increase. Finally, we couldn’t ignore the 2007 Governor’s Proposed Budget which calls for 20% increase in new state spending and a half dozen in new multi-million dollar taxes increases. Can taxpayers and ratepayers afford the brave new world of 2007?