Group seeks $13 per hour minimum wage amendment on November ballot

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JASON HAWK
EDITOR

A proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution seeks to raise the minimum wage to $13 by 2025.

The Ohio Attorney General’s office announced Tuesday that a petition Ohioans for Raising the Wage had both 1,000 valid signatures to be considered and a “fair and truthful” summary of the ballot language that would go before voters.

Now the backers of the amendment need to get 422,958 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters by July 1 to place the issue on the November ballot.

It must also pass scrutiny by the Ohio Ballot Board.

The minimum wage in Ohio for most workers who don’t get tips is $8.70 per hour.

It was just raised by 15 cents on Jan. 1.

With voter support, the amendment would gradually ratchet up the minimum wage for four years, then it would continue to rise each year to match inflation.

The $13 per hour being sought falls short of the demands of the “Fight for $15” movement, which calls for a national strike on behalf of about a third of workers in the United States who would benefit from a $15 per hour minimum wage.

But it would still make a significant difference for Lorain County and others.

The median household income in Lorain County is $58,613, according to data from the 2018 Census.

That works out to $28.18 per hour for a single-income household or $14.09 for a two-income household.

A full-time worker making the minimum wage in Ohio takes home $18,096 per year — that’s $3,234 under the federal poverty line, according to Policy Matters Ohio.

Ohio doesn’t rank in the top half of states when it comes to the minimum wage.

Twenty-seven other states and the District of Columbia have higher minimum wages. Washington, D.C., leads the way with a $14 per hour rate, followed by California at $13 and Massachusetts at $12.75.

California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey are all on track to hit $15 per hour by 2025. New York is also raising its minimum wage to $15 but on a schedule tied to the inflation index.