Who Needs a Raise? Potential Impact of a Higher Ohio Minimum Wage
March 15, 2006
For 68 years the minimum wage has been an important feature of American policy. It is part of the public structure we need for a successful economy that works for all of us – an economy that values work, offers a more level playing field, and better protects those who play by the rules. The minimum wage, however, has been allowed to wither in value and is now lower, in real terms, than at any other point in more than fifty years.
In Ohio, a coalition of workers, unions, community organizations and other citizens is seeking to put an initiative on the November 2006 ballot that would raise the Ohio minimum wage to $6.85 an hour by 2007 with annual cost-of-living-adjustments thereafter. This paper provides insight into how many workers could be affected by raising Ohio’s minimum wage above the federal and indexing it. It finds that the policy would benefit 719,000 workers, bring many workers to a level that actually could bring a small family out of poverty, have substantial benefits for workers already earning more than $5.15, and ensure that inflation does not quickly erode the value of low-wage workers’ paychecks.
Restoring Ohio’s minimum wage to a level comparable to what it was in the past would again send a message that Ohio values its working families, and would send our state back toward the economic high road.
April 2005 report Out of the Basement, where we analyze a proposal to raise the wage legislatively to $7.15.