- Associated Press - Thursday, September 24, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Portland-based grocer New Seasons Market is backing an increase in the Oregon minimum wage.

The company said Wednesday it’s not endorsing any specific ballot measure or legislative proposal. Two groups have offered competing minimum wage proposals that could go before the Legislature of voters in 2016.

The company says a minimum wage hike should be phased in over time so businesses can plan for it. New Seasons also said the phase-in plan needs to account for differences between large and small employers, and between urban and rural areas.

New Seasons also says it will raise its own starting wage from $10 to $12 an hour in January. But chief executive Wendy Collie says individual employers can only do so much on their own, so laws should create “a level playing field for business competition.”

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