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Ohio: Minimum wage jumps to $7.70 an hour today
Sandusky Register
Melissa Topey

January 1, 2012
View the Original Article

Ohio's minimum wage increases 30 cents today, to $7.70 an hour.

An estimated 347,000 workers in the state will see their paychecks increase slightly, according to Policy Matters Ohio, a nonprofit think tank.

The measure was included in a constitutional amendment state legislators approved in 2006, requiring the minimum wage to increase annually with inflation.

Employers grossing more than $283,000 a year must pay the $7.70-an-hour rate, while smaller companies can pay the federal rate of $7.25.

After a 40-hour work week, the increase amounts to pre-taxed earnings of $12.

It's a meager amount, but for some it means an extra 2 gallons of milk, a few loaves of bread or enough gas money to get to work.

Sandusky resident Hannah Bickley, who's working to put herself through college, said every little bit helps.

"I get financial aid and scholarships, but I depend on that income for groceries and to pay utilities," she said. "I think it is a benefit with the way the economy is. Even with a degree, I know people have to take a minimum wage job. It would help them."

Others disagree.

Andrea Dinsmore, who has worked for years in various minimum-wage jobs, said it seems as if businesses increase the price of their products and services when the minimum wage increases.

"You don't get ahead," Dinsmore said. "I prefer when a company can dictate a wage."

Still, that wage should be a living wage, she said.

The Rev. Steve Copley is board chair of Let Justice Roll, a group of religious and labor leaders who advocate for the working poor to receive a living wage.

There are indeed times when businesses pass the increased payroll costs along to customers, but it doesn't always work that way, Copley said.

"We think it is important that those people who work hard or play by the rules have a living wage," he said. "They need that."

Several other minimum wages also are increasing, including in San Francisco, where it is going to $10.24.