Living Wage Study for Cuyahoga County, 2007
June 28, 2007
A study by Policy Matters Ohio for the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners has concluded that a county living wage requirement would benefit a significant number of employees at county contractors. At the same time, Policy Matters found, a large majority of such employees already are paid $10 an hour or more, and such a requirement is not likely to impose major additional costs.
About 120 cities and counties have living wage laws, which require service contractors and sometimes also economic development aid recipients to pay a wage above the state minimum to covered employees. The cities of Cleveland, Lakewood, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo have living wage requirements, as do major counties such as Cook County, IL., and Wayne County, MI., and the state of Maryland.
The Policy Matters report, completed in June 2007, describes current living wage ordinances around the country; reviews existing literature on these laws, and considers the impact on for-profit and nonprofit employers, employees and government. It examines living-wage requirements in large U.S. counties and Ohio cities, with a special focus on the Cleveland and Lakewood experiences. In considering the potential effect of such a requirement on Cuyahoga County, the report reviews recent county contracts and summarizes a survey Policy Matters conducted of county contractors. It also considers the possible effects on the Small Business Enterprise program, economic development grants the county receives from the state and federal governments and county financial aid to employers. Finally, the report provides recommendations for a county living wage requirement.