Report by Ohio-based think tank suggests raising state’s minimum wage to $15 would benefit economy

Updated: Apr. 15, 2021 at 2:49 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -A report released by Policy Matters Ohio suggests that raising the state’s minimum from $8.70 to $15 an hour would benefit 1.56 million Ohioans.

It also suggests that the increase would inject $6.1 billion more into Ohio’s economy.

“That’s because it would direct money to people who will go out and spend it,” said Michael Shields, researcher at Policy Matters Ohio. “It would direct money to folks who are working and making not enough to cover the basics.”

“We deserve to be paid according to our work,” said Tina Callahan.

Callahan works as a janitor in the federal building in downtown Cleveland.

She says the pandemic has shown us how much we all depend on minimum wage workers like cleaning staff.

“Without us, a lot of stuff is not going to get done. For instance, in my building, if we don’t go to work, they have to close the building down,” Callahan added.

Callahan joined forces with Policy Matters Ohio to push for a higher minimum wage.

The Columbus-based think tank released the report this week that showed the benefits of Ohio increasing its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026.

“The average affected worker would take home an additional $3,900 a year from raising the minimum wage and getting rid of the tipped sub-minimum wage so that tipped workers are treated equally,” said Shields.

Traditionally opponents say a minimum wage hike could hurt small businesses that can’t afford to pay their workers $15.

Meanwhile, Callahan says everyone deserves a livable wage.

“We’re fighting people who already have what they need, who already have their bills paid, who can already support their families,” said Callahan.

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