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Minimum wage hike won't make the ballot this year in Ohio

a blank check
Money Knack

When Ohio voters cast their ballots in November, they won't get to weigh in on whether to raise the minimum wage.

A national spokesperson with One Fair Wage said late Wednesday afternoon the organization missed the mark on signatures—writing it was short on the 44-county requirement to make the ballot in November 2024. The spokesperson said it was “very close” to its goal but would hold off on submitting anything.

Paid gatherers and volunteers with Raise the Wage Ohio had been getting signatures to put a proposed constitutional amendment before voters. The amendment would have boosted the minimum wage in the state for most workers to $12.75 per hour by 2025 and $15 per hour by 2026.

For service workers currently making less than $10.25 per hour, under the amendment, businesses would be on the hook to raise their rates on a sliding scale—hitting $15 hourly for all workers by 2029. Under state law, they can offer service workers a base minimum wage of $5.25 hourly if customer gratuity bridges the difference between that rate and the regular $10.45 hourly rate.

Raise the Wage Ohio falls under the national umbrella of One Fair Wage, a national organization seeking to get rid of subminimum wages. The state’s current $5.25 subminimum wage for service workers is three dollars higher than the federal one, which sits at $2.13 hourly.

It was down to the wire for an effort marred by dysfunction.

Signatures need to be submitted to Secretary of State Frank LaRose by 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday. But Monday, when anti-gerrymandering organization Citizens Not Politicians was celebrating submitting nearly double the number of signatures needed in the Ohio Statehouse atrium, volunteers with Raise the Wage Ohio lingered on the peripheral for a last-minute push.

A spokesperson with LaRose's office said earlier Wednesday they had been told numerous different times for when Raise the Wage Ohio would come. With roads closed off around downtown Columbus for the annual Red, White, and BOOM! celebration, delivery never materialized.

“My team has made every accommodation to facilitate a smooth and secure filing of this petition,” LaRose wrote in an email statement Wednesday evening. “We worked with the city’s Emergency Operations Command, the Columbus Police Department, the Ohio Highway Patrol and the chief of staff and deputy chief of staff at the Columbus mayor’s office. Access issues were never a problem. Rural Ohioans are not to blame.”

Ohio Chamber of Commerce President Steve Stivers said in an email statement Wednesday evening he believed the failure to file in time was a win.

“Raising the minimum wage will only result in higher prices for Ohio families, and today’s events prove that the general public is realizing that,” Stivers said.

Weeks earlier, the Ohio Restaurant and Hospitality Alliance (ORHA) put out a survey arguing the bulk of the state’s bartenders and servers prefer the current wage system. According to the ORHA-commissioned survey, 93% of service worker participants said they believed they’d earn less money if their base salary was raised. Right now, more than four-fifths of participants said their pay exceeds $20 per hour with gratuity.

Sarah Donaldson covers government, policy, politics and elections for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. Contact her at
Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at