$15 minimum wage would help 2 million Ohioans
Posted February 12, 2019 in Press Releases
A bill being introduced in the Ohio legislature to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2023 would raise wages for about 2 million Ohio workers, according to a report released today by Policy Matters Ohio. They include 1.6 million workers now earning less than the current value of the wage, and 450,000 workers who already earn a little more, but would likely see a boost as employers adjust pay rates to hire and retain skilled workers.
The federal minimum wage peaked in 1968 and would be worth $11.83 today if it had kept place with inflation. Ohio’s current minimum wage, $8.55 an hour, is worth 28 percent less than the 1968 level. The state economy has grown by 88 percent since then. Ohio voters responded in 2006 by raising the minimum wage and setting an inflation index to prevent further losses. The current proposal would recover the rest of the lost ground and enable Ohio’s low-wage workers to share in the wealth the state has achieved since then.
The bill, sponsored by Representatives Kelly, Weinstein, Adam Miller, Joe Miller Lepore-Hagan, Russo, Boyd, Miranda, Kent Smith, Kent, Ingram, Sweeney, and Boggs is currently under review by the Legislative Services Commission.
The policy would benefit a broad cross-section of Ohio workers. Most are adults who have already graduated from school. It would improve equity by raising wages for 42 percent of working women and 54 percent of black workers. Ohio women earn just 82 cents on the dollar compared to men, and wages for black workers have fallen by $3 per hour since 1979.
Recent research has shown that increases in the minimum wage have not resulted in substantial job losses or consumer price increases. A Policy Matters case study found that when the Greater Cleveland Food Bank raised its minimum wage by 21.7 percent, its operating costs rose just 0.5 percent.
“Low-wage workers are creating wealth for their employers and the economy,” said Michael Shields, Policy Matters Ohio researcher and the report’s author. “But today’s policy landscape makes it harder for them to bargain for their share. Passing a living minimum wage is a critical step to enable all Ohio workers to share in the wealth they help to make possible.”