In Cleveland, even Democrats oppose the push for a $15 minimum wage hike.
“Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Council President Kevin Kelley are calling out state and national leaders – demanding that they publicly denounce a proposal to set the city’s minimum wage at $15 an hour,” according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.
Jackson and Kelley support a minimum wage increase on a state or national level, but fear a Cleveland-specific increase would limit economic growth.
“A Cleveland-only minimum wage would put our City at an economic disadvantage, which will result in disinvestment and the loss of jobs,” they wrote.
If Cleveland almost doubles the $8.10 Ohio minimum wage — an 85 percent increase — to $15, the argument goes, then businesses with high labor costs could leave for nearby cities, investment could focus on Cincinnati or Columbus, or economic growth could get filtered to nearby Pittsburgh.
Without a “level playing field” approach that would focus on a state or national increase, the artificial increase in the minimum wage makes Cleveland a much less attractive option for businesses.
“A $15 minimum wage in Cleveland would force jobs and businesses from the city, putting a dent in the already fragile economy,” Jeremey Adler, communications director for AR Squared, a conservative non-profit, said.
Jackson and Kelley sent letters to more than a dozen state legislators, Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, the Ohio Democratic Party Chairman, and Hillary Clinton, the Plain-Dealer noted.
Economists asked about a $15 minimum wage increase have described it as a gamble, given the dramatic increase in the wage floor compared to previous increases. For Cleveland, which has struggled to recover from a manufacturing decline and the recession, pioneering an increase could exacerbate its economic woes.