COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A citizen-led petition to increase Ohio’s minimum wage is one step closer to being put before voters as a ballot question.
The issue is not on the ballot in Tuesday’s election as there are still several steps that need to be taken in the process.
Raise the Wage Ohio is looking to raise the minimum wage to $10.50 in 2025 and then incrementally increase it until 2028, with a final minimum wage of $15.
The petition was examined by the Ohio Ballot Board Monday morning. The board’s only role is to determine if the petition is one Ohio constitutional amendment or should be more.
“Every change, whether it be adding language or deleting language, relates to that one single subject, the minimum wage,” said Raise the Wage Ohio’s Don McTigue. “Therefore, I respectfully request that you do find it is one subject.”
The ballot board approved the issue to move on to the next step in the process of getting it placed on the ballot, which is to collect signatures. Those signatures must come from voters in at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
The Buckeye Institute, a research group whose mission is to “advance free-market public policy in the states,” said in a statement that raising the minimum wage would be detrimental to Ohio businesses.
“While businesses in large metropolitan areas are already offering starting salaries at or above $15, more rural parts of the state would be harmed by the increase,” according to a statement from the institute. “The business model of hospitality would be severely impacted as the referendum would eliminate the exception for tipped workers. There are better ways to help Ohio workers than a statewide mandate that would encourage businesses to hire fewer workers.”
The state is currently set to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour ($5.05 for tipped workers) starting Jan. 1, 2023. Small businesses grossing less than $371,000 per year can pay the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25.