PMO Report Says Minimum Wage Increase Could Add $6.1B to Economy
Matters Ohio (PMO) released a report Tuesday on the potential benefits of
raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, with researcher Michael Shields saying
it would add $6.1 billion into the state economy each year, benefit 1.56
million Ohioans and drive greater pay equity for women and minorities.
report modeled the effects of raising the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by
2026 and eliminating the subminimum wage for tipped workers, a schedule based
on a Florida law approved by its voters in November. Shields said a similar
approach would likely be needed in Ohio given the Republican control of the
Statehouse, noting that led to the 2006 increase in Ohio minimum wage.
increase would ensure all Ohioans share in the prosperity created by their
work, he said, and the current minimum wage of $8.80 an hour is 28 percent less
than the inflation-adjusted $12 it was worth in 1968. He also discussed how the
increase would benefit people of color and women who are paid less, saying that
it would increase the pay for 36 percent of working women in the state.
the increase would generate $4.9 billion more in annual wages with another $1.2
billion from eliminating the tipped credit, and much of that would be spent on
necessities in local businesses. The average affected worker would receive an
additional $3,900 each year, Shields added, and it would increase wages for
406,000 working parents.
said that the pandemic highlighted how much the public relies on low-paid
workers in grocery stores, health care and child care and that paying a living
wage is part of valuing that work. Holly Sklar, CEO of Business for a Fair
Minimum Wage, discussed how the increase would help companies as well.
minimum wage has become a poverty wage instead of an anti-poverty wage and that
is bad for business as well as workers,” she said. “Workers are also customers.
Most businesses have many more customers than employees. Local businesses
depend on local customers to make enough to buy what they are selling.”
also noted that the minimum wage was instituted due to the Great Depression to
help both workers and businesses, but said this is the longest period in
history without a national increase, making it a “poverty wage” rather than an
anti-poverty measure. The Ohio living wage is around $13.16 for one adult
without children, Sklar added, according to an MIT calculation using
minimum wage must be enough to live on during the COVID-19 recovery, she
continued, discussing how workers are also customers and that boosting pay also
helps fuel the economy, reduce turnover and improve customer service. Low
minimum wages also make it more difficult for small businesses, she said, as
large corporations have raised their wages to around $15 an hour.
also said the minimum wage increase would be “one of the most effective ways”
to drive the post-pandemic recovery as it would direct money to those who would
“go out and spend it.” He also said he was not as knowledgeable on the topic of
universal basic income but praised the stimulus payments.
said that there is support for raising the wage among business leaders, but
others “get stuck in their ways” and that there is a need to continue pushing
for an increase.
virtual press conference also featured members of Service Employees
International Union (SEIU) Local 1 in Columbus and Cleveland, including
security guard Louis Hernandez and janitors Mary Shackelford and Tina Callahan.
They discussed financial difficulties, safety concerns due to the hours they
work and how the pandemic led them to be labeled essential workers despite what
they are paid.
report is available at www.hannah.com>Important New Documents>Library.
Story originally published in The Hannah Report on April 13, 2021. Copyright 2021 Hannah News Service, Inc.