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Kshama Swant and Nicholas Caleb in Portland, Oregon for $15 Now. (Photo by Hart Noecker)
Kshama Sawant & Nick Caleb for $15 Now in Portland.
Want to make a difference in your community? Run for office.

That's what Nicholas Ivan Caleb did when the deadline for filing for Portland City Council got down to a few hours, and he saw no candidates addressing what he sees as the two intimately intertwined challenges facing the city: low wages and the rising cost of housing.

With rapidly rising rents and property taxes combined with stagnant wages, the working poor are being forced to the margins of the city at an unprecedented pace. A $15/hr living wage is essential if we're to start to deal with Portland's problem of wealth inequality. At the same time, communities must have legal powers to control what sorts of developments are welcome in their neighborhoods. While increasing affordable housing, we must also curtail rapidly rising rents. If we do not, the people who make Portland the friendly, vibrant, culturally rich place it is today will no longer be able to afford life in this city.
At the press conference opening his campaign, Caleb laid down an aggressively progressive platform centered around the plank for raising the minimum wage in Portland from the second highest in the nation to $15 an hour.

Since Nicholas Caleb entered the race, Oregon candidates across the board have begun lining up behind him on this issue.

[incumbent] Saltzman’s opponent, Concordia University professor Nick Caleb, launched his campaign last month by calling for Portland’s lowest-wage workers to earn $15 an hour. Saltzman followed by participating in a rally Tuesday aimed, in part, at supporting a repeal of the state preemption.

Nick Fish, who is also seeking re-election has said he would support a statewide push to raise the wage, as well as a push to remove the preemption.

The Wall Street Journal has taken notice that the failure on the Federal level to raise the minimum wage has shifted the spotlight to the local level across the nation.
Nick Caleb, a city council candidate in Portland, Ore., launched his campaign with a promise for a $15 wage floor, only to discover that the state with the second-highest minimum wage, at $9.10 an hour, forbids local standards. That hasn't stopped Mr. Caleb, who is now pitching a tax on businesses that pay less than $15 an hour.
Nicholas Caleb outlines his plan for this low-wage business tax in his Blue Oregon column article--$15 How:
You could call this the reverse WalMart policy. Instead of big corporations paying employees so little that they have to rely on government services, you tax large corporate employers who won't pay $15/hr to subsidize our city's small businesses who would love to see their employees' quality of life improve.
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Originally posted to occupystephanie ~ Stephanie Hampton on Sun May 04, 2014 at 01:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by 15NOW.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Sun May 04, 2014 at 01:18:29 PM PDT

  •  Expensive Rent (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    occupystephanie

    Somehow i fear this discussion is being twisted into "how will it impact small business" instead of "With rapidly rising rents and property taxes combined with stagnant wages"

    The 15Now movement needs to keep on drilling home the point of high rent increases in places like Seattle and Portland.

    Rents are just crazy now, they need to refocus on that, and renters, and not let the Chamber of Commerce change parameters of the debate. They are experts at that and they have they media on their side too.

    "....No Compromise in the Defense of Mother Earth!"

    by Seattle Socialist on Sun May 04, 2014 at 03:37:41 PM PDT

    •  Caleb does couple it with rent control and a (0+ / 0-)

      control of gentrification which adds to the unaffordability of rentals.

      I think he mentions this because the most cogent argument against the living wage is its impact on small business. This idea of a living wage tax would blunt that.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Sun May 04, 2014 at 04:15:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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