CINCINNATI - Ohio's minimum wage climbed 15 cents with the start of the new year to $7.85. Think tank Policy Matters Ohio said the increase will mean an additional $340 per year for the 215,000 low-wage earners around the state.
"It's a good thing," said Bryan Knight, an employee at Adriatico's New York Style Pizza in University Heights. Everybody is going to make more money."
Nine other states — Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington — also bumped up their minimum wages.
"More money in the economy is always a better thing," Knight said.
Ohio’s change stems from a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2006. It follows annual Consumer Price Index numbers to keep pace with the rising cost of living, according to Policy Matters Ohio.
For the wage payer, however, the upward pressure on wages means an increase in payroll and may affect the bottom line.
"When these things come I've got to run a certain percentage of payroll and that's going to force it up," said Tom Erbeck, Adriatico's owner.
"One percent, I might have to pass that on or I might have to make less money until the market can bear a price increase," Erbeck said.
Erbeck employs 66 people at his new location on West McMillan Street.
Erbeck pays his employees higher than the minimum wage because he feels it attracts better workers and prevents turnover, but said he must pay attention to the bottom line.
"I can only run a payroll at a certain percentage because if you run it more I'll be out of business and that's where I have to look at where I can cut back," Erbeck said.
Raising the minimum wage helps low-wage earners, who will, in turn, spend that money on goods and services, according to Policy Matters Ohio.
In addition, the agency says the wage increases across the country will generate more than $183 million in new economic activity and create the equivalent of 1,500 new full-time jobs.
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