Nevertheless, the new minimum wage is set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2008.
The inflation-driven Ohio minimum wage that had been $6.85 then will increase by 15 cents.
“It will go to $7 for non-tipped employees, and $3.50 plus tips for tipped employees,” said Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Todd Book, D-McDermott (89th District). “The people of the state of Ohio had all the information, and voted to increase it with the cost of living built into it.”
Book said there is a reason for the graduated increase.
“Things are more expensive this year than last, what with the cost of gasoline and everything else,” he said. “So from Nov. 1 last year to Nov. 1 this year it has really gone up.”
Book said the minimum wage may need to be looked at some time in the future.
“If the cost of living continues to go up, we may have to look at this against the issues it causes for businesses,” he said. “It does cause some concerns for fast food restaurants and businesses like that. Businesses have been in contact with me. After all, it is 15 cents more per hour. But people just can't survive on less than that today.”
An amendment to the Ohio constitution was approved by voters in November 2006, and it requires the Ohio Department of Commerce to increase the state minimum wage based on the change in the U.S. Consumer Price Index.
If the CPI increases at a certain percentage, the minimum wage will climb by the same percentage.
Shortly after the law was past in November 2006, Scott Schmidt, owner of many of the Wendy's locations in the tri-state area talked about its effect on his and other similar businesses.
“I believe the minimum wage is too low. I blame the politicians, they should have done something about this a long time ago,” Schmidt said. “However, $6.85 is going to cause us to have to lay off a couple of people at each Ohio location and to cut back the hours for some of the other workers. That's what we have to do to survive.”
Schmidt said most of his employees are not on minimum wage.
“That's what we pay our high school kids and people with no experience,” he said.
The amendment also dictated Ohio employers set up and maintain detailed payroll records for all employees.