COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Another attempt to increase the minimum wage in Ohio is about to get underway.
A bill is being introduced into both chambers that would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The minimum wage in Ohio went up 15 cents this year from $8.15 to $8.30 and according to Policy Matters Ohio, which claims to be a non-partisan non-profit, the increase just isn’t good enough.
The bill would increase the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2019 and then raise it $0.50 every year until it reaches $15 in 2025.
According to Hannah Halbert, a researcher with Policy Matters Ohio, 1.8 million Ohioans would get a raise if the legislation is enacted into law.
“We live in a state where the wealthiest 1% earn more than 19 times the average of the bottom 99% of earners combined,” said Halbert.
This fuels the continual fight by Democrats to increase the minimum wage.
“Far too many people are still feeling the pinch and far too many people know that it really doesn’t matter how hard they work,” said State Representative Brigid Kelly. “Their families live paycheck to paycheck so that big corporations can make record profits.”
She is talking about families like Chaundra Kidd’s from Cleveland. Kidd works at a nursing home and struggles to make ends meet on minimum wage.
“For me, it’s ongoing,” said Kidd. “We’ve been in this fight for a long time.”
It is a fight she is confident will end in their favor.
But leaders of the legislature may have different plans.
President of the Senate Larry Obhof released this statement in response to the Democrats announcement.
“Today’s press conference was not about working people, it was about election-year politics. It’s a tired playbook of class warfare combined with bad economic policy. The last time the Democrats set the policy agenda for the state of Ohio, we lost 350,000 jobs and had less than one dollar in the rainy day fund. Today, because of Republican leadership on pro-growth policies like tax cuts and regulatory reform, the economy has improved and we have added nearly 500,000 jobs. Our policies are working for the people of Ohio. That is why so many of Ohio’s working men and women support a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda instead of the same tired rhetoric we heard from the Democrats earlier today.”
Brad Miller, the Spokesman for the Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger, also released a statement.
“Arbitrarily raising the cost of doing business only makes it more difficult for entrepreneurs to create new jobs and for job-seekers to find employment. Over the past seven years, House Republicans have been wholly focused on supporting policies that promote job creation and that make it easier to start a business. During that time, Ohioans have created nearly 500,000 new private-sector jobs, and the state has experienced record new-business filings in each of the last three years. The goal for House Republicans will continue to be to promote market-driven policies that in the long run benefit employees, consumers and small-business owners alike.”
Democrats say the Republicans are recycling the same old arguments. Halbert says some which do not stand-up to the research that has been conducted.
When asked why the Democrats would even try to introduce legislation that some consider dead on arrival, State Senator Joe Schiavoni explained that it is a way to at least get the conversation going.
According to Schiavoni, like Charter Schools and Congressional Redistricting, it could take years to bring Republicans to the table but they have to start somewhere.
When facing the prospect of waiting nearly a decade more for a $15 minimum wage, Kidd says she isn’t going anywhere.