Thousands of Ohioans Get a Raise Today

The Palladium-Item - January 1, 2007

The Palladium-Item

For almost 300,000 Ohioans, today will be more than a day to tack a new calendar on the wall.

It’s the day when they all get a raise.

The minimum wage increase approved by Ohio voters in November will kick the state’s minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85 an hour. While workers know that it won’t solve all their money problems, it will mean a little more spending money.

Policy Matters Ohio, a liberal, Cleveland-based economics research organization, thinks that others will benefit, too.

The group estimated that there are another 423,000 Ohio workers who are already being paid $6.85 an hour or a little more who can expect to see a modest increase in wages from the higher minimum.

For years, Ohio’s minimum hourly wage had matched the federal minimum of $5.15 an hour. In November, voters ignored a massive “Vote No on Issue 2” advertising campaign funded by retail merchants and business groups and overwhelming passed the measure. The new measure not only raises the hourly rate but in the future will give those workers an annual increase based on the rate of inflation.

The new Democratic Congress that takes over this week in Washington might set the bar even higher.

Incoming U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has included an increase in the federal minimum wage – possibly as high as $7.25 an hour – as part of her agenda for the first 100 hours of the new session. Meanwhile, the minimum wage in seven other states also goes up today.

Indiana’s current minimum remains at $5.15 per hour, but the General Assembly may consider an increase when it convenes this month.

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