The proposal to increase Cleveland’s minimum wage to $15 an hour may have been turned in too late to be included on the November ballot.
A petition to increase Cleveland’s minimum wage to $15 an hour has been submitted to the city council for review, but it is likely that the petition was submitted too late to be included on the November ballot.
According to a report from Cleveland.com, the proposal to increase Cleveland’s minimum wage may get pushed back to a special election next year, as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) was a few days late in turning in the signatures. The SEIU, through the recently formed local Raise Up Cleveland group, was able to collect enough signatures on a petition to introduce the proposal to the city council, but the council has the option to vote down the ordinance or to adopt an amended version, and if they choose to do so, the petitioners have the right to put the original language on the ballot for Cleveland voters.
However, according to the report from Cleveland.com, the group may not have turned the signatures in early enough to guarantee a shot at the November ballot. According to the City Charter, the council has 90 days from the proposals submission to review the legislation and come to a final decision, and if the council takes the full 90 days and then chooses not to pass the ordinance as written, the initiative will miss the Aug. 10 deadline, set by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, to make the ballot for the general election.
Cleveland.com reported that Anthony Caldwell, director of public affairs for SEIU District 1199, stated that the petitioners aren’t concerned with the deadline, and they believe that the issue will pass, regardless of when it goes to a vote. His claim is supported by data indicating that 77% of Clevelanders support a $15 minimum wage. Despite the fact that the November ballot would have the largest voter turnout, Caldwell believes that those directly affected by the issue will still be motivated to vote during a later election.
Caldwell also commented that the council should, however, act sooner in order to avoid a special election, which would be costly for taxpayers, Cleveland.com reported.
Cleveland.com also reported that council president Kevin Kelley said that the council has no plans to rush the matter on this important matter. Kelley added that SEIU should have been more diligent with the proposal, as The City Charter is clear on the time that the council has to make its decision.
The council has already held two hearings on the legislation, and the both sides of the issue have been addressed. Advocates for the legislation claim that the current $8.10 minimum wage is leaving families in poverty, while two local economists have revealed the effect that such a dramatic citywide minimum wage hike would have on businesses and the local economy, concluding that the wage increase is too high, too fast and confined to too limited of a geographical area, according to Cleveland.com. The local economists predict that the net result of the legislation would be a loss of jobs and businesses in Cleveland.
Cleveland. com reported that the Council’s Committee of the Whole is scheduled for another hearing on the topic on June 16.