By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Where was outcry against BOLI rules?

Why didn’t the Oregon business community show up this week to oppose one of the most ludicrous regulatory suggestions in memory? Does their balance mean people simply accept the nonsense proposed as rules for implementation of the state’s new minimum wage law?

Whatchamacolumn

Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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Answering the first question: Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries unveiled its draft rules at a Monday afternoon hearing; most people with business interests were busy at the time … working for a living.

As to acceptance, we can only hope post-hearing written testimony comes by the carload as people realize that BOLI proposes to enact such a terrible piece of public policy.

In time, businesses located inside the meandering Portland metro urban growth boundary will be required to pay a higher minimum wage than in surrounding “urban counties.” However, here’s what BOLI rules suggest for non-metro businesses that send employees to the Portland area for deliveries and pickups:

Develop a geo-location system to determine when someone enters and leaves the zigzag Portland urban growth boundary, which could occur multiple times during the same trip;

Maintain records of exactly how much time someone spends inside the UGB;

Keep internal financial records involving payroll, payroll taxes and related record-keeping systems to facilitate payment of different hourly rates to the same employee based on time spent inside and outside the metro UGB.

This proposal is one of the most aggravating examples of government regulatory abuse in decades. The idea that this kind of policy would even surface, much less be implemented, speaks to the great distance that some branches of government have strayed from standards of common sense regulation.

BOLI, as if intentionally wanting to add insult to injury, attaches an extra share of arrogance to the situation with this suggestion: If you want to avoid the extra record-keeping cost of our ridiculous rules, just agree to pay the higher minimum wage for all hours worked by an employee who occasionally strays within the Portland UGB.

Really? That reminds me of a neighborhood Don in a scene from “The Godfather” — “If you want to be protected from trouble, just give me some cash every week.”

BOLI’s proposed rules merit a general business sector outcry against short-sighted and economically abusive use of government powers. But maybe the private sector is just too busy toiling with economic challenges already contrived by government rules.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

Comments

Don Dix

And the city of Portland is about to add a new tax on businesses in the city ... which includes any work done in the city, local or not. It has been that way for years, but now there will be enforcement.

Government has become a money pit, and very seldom makes decisions based on anything but how much more can be extracted from the citizens, only to be wasted (in most cases).

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