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April 11, 2024

  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
  • Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg
    Indie bookstore, Gathering Volumes, just hosted poet and (transgender) activist, Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg To celebrate Trans Day of Visibility, Minney read from her poetry book – A Woman in Progress (2024). Her reading depicted emotional and physical transformations especially in the scene of womanhood and queer experiences. Her language is empowering and personally […]
Spring Housing Guide

Fight to raise lowest wages goes up against job loss risks

The Ohio Minimum Wage Amendment would raise the state minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2007, if Issue 2 is approved in this year’s general election.

While 22 states have already raised the minimum wage above $5.15, Ohio’s minimum wage has remained the same since 1997.

Proponents argue minimum wage earners in Ohio make $10,712 a year – $3,000 below the federal poverty line – and the value of the wage has declined due to inflation, according to the Ohioans for a Fair Minimum Wage Web site.

Randy Leite, a family and consumer sciences professor and supporter of Issue 2, said that a raise in minimum wage will not necessarily pull many people out of poverty.

“The reality is that [$6.85 per hour] is still far below what someone would need to make to earn enough to move above the poverty line,” he said. “For someone in a family of four, they would need to make over $9 an hour to make enough to earn more than the poverty line.”

Advocates also say that states with higher minimum wages have more job growth than other states.

“Employment in small businesses grew by 9.4 percent in states with higher minimum wages than federal minimum wage states (6.6 percent) or Ohio,” according to a study done by Policy Matters Ohio, a non-profit policy research organization.

But opponents of Issue 2 argue a raise in the minimum wage won’t really help low-wage workers.

They say jobs will be lost, most of which belong to lower skilled workers, and that “Ohio industry will face higher costs of doing business, making Ohio less competitive with other states,” according to the Ohioans to Protect Personal Privacy.

BG senior Andy Hascher said because the minimum wage has been at the same place for such a long time, it’s time to re-evaluate how much it should be.

“While it’s easy to say that I think it should be higher, we have to keep in mind that raising the minimum wage could limit the amount of new workers that can enter the labor force, and weigh the pros and cons accordingly,” said Hascher.

Jobs will be lost if minimum wage is increased, according to a March 2006 study done by David Macpherson, a Florida State University economist.

“The mandated increase would result in a loss of almost 12,000 jobs and impose a $308 million hit on the Ohio economy,” Macpherson reported in the study.

“One-half of the layoffs would occur among workers under the age of 25 and one-third would occur among workers with a family income below $25,000,” he said.

Opponents say better approaches to abolishing poverty would be to increase the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and to improve job-development and training.

Brian Kutzley, co-chair of BG’s College Republicans, said Republicans are in no way opposed to ending poverty but they believe that raising the minimum wage would remove the only job openings that unskilled workers – the very people they’re trying to help – currently have.

“Someone at or below the poverty level is able to get a minimum wage job because they are only competing with others of their same education and training level. If the minimum wage were increased, then those jobs would attract, for instance, high school grads and college dropouts,” said Kutzley.

“By attempting to help the poor, uneducated and unskilled, we would actually be depriving them of their only means of income,” he said.

Issue 2 would also change Ohio’s constitution to allow individuals access to employee records, a concern among many opponents of the issue.

More specifically, it would allow the release of employee names, addresses, occupations, pay rates and daily hours worked to others, which opponents argue is an invasion of privacy and increases the chances of people getting their identity stolen.

As part of the constitution, the amendment would not be easily changed or corrected.

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