What are the chances of $15?

Ohio lawmakers are modeling their proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour off a Florida ballot initiative.

COLUMBUS – During the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers stocked shelves with food, cleaned classrooms and treated patients at home.

Now they deserve a raise, Democratic lawmakers say.

The push to increase the minimum wage to $15 isn't new, but its chances of passing might be – at least at the federal level. 

President Joe Biden recently proposed increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, fulfilling a campaign promise. But passing it will be no easy feat in a divided U.S. Senate. 

The federal proposal, backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, would gradually increase the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour by 2025. 

The plan would also eliminate lower wages for tipped workers, those younger than 20 during their first months on the job and individuals with disabilities in workshops. 

“For too many people in this country, hard work isn’t paying off,” Brown said. “While costs for Ohio families are rising and workers are more productive than ever, wages aren’t keeping up." 

The effort has a better shot at the federal level, where Democrats control which legislation passes, than in Ohio's GOP-controlled Legislature, said Greg Lawson, a research fellow at the conservative Buckeye Institute.

In Ohio, Democratic state lawmakers proposed another way to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, inching it up by $1 an hour through 2027. Legislators modeled the language off a Florida ballot initiative, which passed with 60% of the vote in November. 

Why raise the minimum wage?

The last time Ohioans voted to increase the minimum wage was in 2006 after efforts to raise the wage through the state's GOP-controlled Legislature failed. Issue 2 passed with 56.7% of the vote, increasing the state's minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85 an hour and tying annual increases to inflation. 

Those raises – just 10 cents between 2020 and 2021 – aren't enough anymore, said Rep. Brigid Kelly, D-Hyde Park, who introduced a bill with Rep. Dontavius Jarrells, D-Columbus.

Source link

Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button