Democratic state lawmakers to introduce legislation to raise Ohio’s minimum wage to $15 an hour

Dontavius Jarrells (D-Columbus)

COLUMBUS—Reps. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) and Dontavius Jarrells (D-Columbus) and state Sens. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) and Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) today urged fellow lawmakers to sign onto their legislation that would increase Ohio’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2027. In their co-sponsor request memos, the Democratic lawmakers said that raising wages for working Ohioans will bring more economic security and stability to millions of Ohioans living paycheck to paycheck and boost the long-term health of the state’s economy.

“We can’t afford to stay stuck in the past with poverty-wage jobs that don’t let Ohioans live up to their full potential. Ohio’s minimum wage needs an overhaul to meet the demands of today’s new economy,” said Rep. Kelly

The bill is similar to a Florida ballot measure that passed in Nov. 2020 with more than 60 percent of the statewide vote. Under the Ohio proposal, the minimum wage would increase to $10 on Jan. 1, 2022, then increase by $1 per hour each year until Jan. 1, 2027 when it reaches $15 per hour. After that, it would be indexed to inflation.

“This year’s 10-cent increase to Ohio’s minimum wage does not go far enough to support our working families,” said Rep. Jarrells.  “Our legislation cuts workers in on the deal and puts money back into our local economies. Raising the minimum wage ensures that every Ohioan who works full time has the opportunity not just to get by, but to get ahead.”

“Far too many Ohioans work multiple jobs and still can’t afford to pay for food, bills and health care,” said Sen. Thomas. “That’s shameful, but it’s also something the General Assembly can fix by passing this legislation. We need to make sure workers in Ohio are adequately paid so they can take care of their families.”

A 2019 Policy Matters Ohio report found that increasing Ohio’s minimum wage to $15 would lift wages for some 2 million Ohio workers, nearly 37 percent of the wage-earning workforce, with the average affected worker taking home an additional $4,252 annually. Proponents of the wage increase say it better aligns wages to increased productivity, which, since 1979 has risen six times faster than hourly compensation for the typical U.S. worker.

“Raising Ohio’s minimum wage will increase productivity and stimulate consumer spending,” Sen. Craig said. “It is very simple: if Ohioans have more money, they will be more likely to spend it. Increasing our state’s minimum wage is not just the right thing to do, it is also a smart investment in our economy.”

Lawmakers have until Friday, Jan. 29, to sign onto the legislation.

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