Ohio governor candidates Mike DeWine and Rich Cordray talk about jobs and economy

Here’s what the governor candidates say about raising the minimum wage

The idea of raising Ohio’s minimum wage is controversial and the four candidates for Ohio governor each have somewhat different positions on it.

Ohio’s minimum wage is $8.30 per hour, higher than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour because Ohio voters in 2006 approved a law that increases the minimum wage based on inflation once a year.

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Democrat Richard Cordray, the former director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, wants to increase the minimum wage and opposes any legislation that would reduce worker wage and overtime protection.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, a Republican, said Ohio should stick with its current law.

Libertarian Party candidate Travis Irvine opposes any increase in the minimum wage.

Green Party candidate Constance Gadell-Newton wants to set the minimum wage at $15 per hour plus annual increases for inflation and cost of living.

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Here’s what some experts had to say about the subject:

Mark Caleb Smith, Director, Center for Political Studies at Cedarville University. JIM WITMER/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

Mark Caleb Smith, director of the Center for Political Studies at Cedarville University

“Increasing the minimum wage will have the short-term positive impact on people at the lower end of the wage scale. (But) businesses will pass additional labor costs onto consumers. They will have more incentives to automate jobs. Higher minimum wages also reduce the number of entry level jobs in the market, and that is especially bad for young people and those with lower levels of education.”

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Lee Hannah, assistant professor of political science, Wright State University
Photo: Staff Writer

Lee Hannah, assistant professor of political science at Wright State University

“There is a debate about minimum wage hikes, both philosophically and how they work in practice. Supporters argue that they help to reduce inequality and can boost consumer spending as minimum-wage workers have more disposable income. Some speculate that it may also alleviate public spending on poverty programs. Opponents argue that they either lead to fewer jobs (companies just cut some positions that they can no longer afford) or that young people (in particular) have a harder time gaining employment and that prices become inflated. It seems to me that the weight of evidence shows that minimum wage increases have positive effects – that is, people at the bottom are paid more, even when considering that some face cuts in hours, and people in the middle and at the top of the income distribution appear to be unaffected . But there is also evidence that raising the minimum wage leads companies to increase automation efforts.”

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Andrew J. Kidd, Economist with the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank.
Photo: Staff Writer

Andrew J. Kidd, economist with the Economic Research Center at The Buckeye Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank

“Many Ohioans have suffered from the wage stagnation, yet the main culprit is the high cost of health care that employers are mandated to pay for their workers. As a result, employers have struggled to offer higher wages to workers because health care premiums have increased greatly since the ACA’s enactment. Nobody wants to stay at the minimum wage for long periods of time, but artificially increasing the minimum wage will do more harm than good. Businesses will move away from hiring more workers towards automated systems, and we have already seen the impact of this kiosks replacing workers in fast food restaurants. This will only accelerate if policymakers arbitrarily increase the minimum wage.”

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Hannah Halbert, Researcher at Policy Matters Ohio
Photo: Staff Writer

Hannah Halbert, researcher at Policy Matters Ohio, a liberal-leaning think tank

“A minimum wage increase would unequivocally help. Policy Matters found that a $15 minimum wage phased in by 2025 would bring a raise to 1.8 million Ohioans. These are people who would have more resources to spend in their communities, strengthening our economy. While we see a safety nets as vital, we have also run family budget simulations that show that a living minimum wage would reduce dependency on those supports. Our work identifying industries and specific firms with a large share of workers on safety net programs shows how some companies have built business models of shifting much of their wage bill onto Ohio taxpayers.”

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Ohio occupations with the most projected annual openings through 2024  
   
JobTotal projected annual openingsMedian hourly wage - May 2017
Combined food preparation and service workers, including fast food*6,920$9.21
Retail salespersons*6,002$10.67
Registered nurses 4,833$30.43
Cashiers*4,960$9.31
Home health aides*4,476$10.33
Nursing assistants2,711$12.54
Office clerks, general2,495$14.88
Customer service representatives 2,474$15.50
Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses1,930$20.21
General and operations managers1,904$44.77
Maintenance and repair workers, general1,638$18.87
Truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer1,597$20.09
Team assemblers1,479$15.50
Accountants and auditors1,438$31.02
Front-line supervisors/managers of food preparation and serving workers1,325$14.93
Farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers1,293$35.11
Front-line supervisors and managers of retail sales workers1,274$17.60
Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products1,202$27.59
Machinists1,150$20.20
   
*These jobs are not defined by the state as "in-demand" because they do not offer a "family-sustaining wage," which the state defines as 80 percent of the state's $17.55 per hour median wage.   
   
Source: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, U.S. Bureau of Labor Services 

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