Restaurant Industry Leader Says Minimum Wage Hike Could End Up Hurting Low Income Ohioans

May 16, 2016

Cleveland City Council is introducing legislation to set the minimum wage at $15. Throughout the state and the country, there are repeated calls for increasing the minimum wage.

Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) wants to increase Ohio’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, giving more than a million Ohioans a raise.

“And 2.1 billion would get circulated in the Ohio economy.”

But John Barker, the head of the Ohio Restaurant Association, says many of his members already pay above the $8.10 state minimum wage but going higher could cause inflation.

“The restaurant industry has typically low prices and typically low profit margins. That model hasn’t changed. The only way you can do that is to charge more for all of the food and you wonder how people will respond to a $10 hamburger.”

Majority Republicans at the Statehouse have not embraced Smith’s proposal. But state and federal Democratic candidates say raising the minimum wage will be one of their talking points on the campaign trail this fall.