Cleveland Neighborhood Progress supports policies to reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity for all Cleveland residents. Among the strategies that we support are carefully-crafted policies that remove or rehabilitate blighted properties, increase training opportunities, enable residents to more easily get to jobs, improve wages, bring healthy food to underserved, neighborhoods, or provide economic or social support.
Moreover, we have prioritized the creation and fostering of high quality retail and commercial options supportive of sustainable households and thriving places for the neighborhoods. The potential unintended consequences of the proposed ordinance, would negatively impact decades of investment this organization has made in the City of Cleveland. We believe that a well-constructed minimum wage increase policy, that is not limited to only the City of Cleveland, can be one important piece of an anti-poverty agenda.
- The mission of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress is to foster communities of choice and opportunity throughout Cleveland; we envision all of Cleveland’s neighborhoods to be attractive, vibrant communities where people from all incomes, races, and generations thrive, prosper, and choose to live, learn, work, invest, and play; and
- The current Ordinance No. 621-16 (“Ordinance”) brought forth by the petitioners of Raise Up Cleveland to the City of Cleveland Council proposes that beginning January 1, 2017 every covered employer pay each of its employees working within the geographical boundaries of the City of Cleveland at a wage rate not less than $15.00 hour; and
- A number of states and municipalities across the nation have passed ordinances, resolutions and/or laws increasing the minimum wage on an incremental basis, no jurisdiction has done so as proposed by Ordinance 621-16 and if enacted into law, the proposed Ordinance will make the City of Cleveland the only municipality in the State of Ohio with a minimum wage over $8.10; and
- The proposed Ordinance is like no other in the nation and there is limited literature on the potential effects of such a steep and sudden increase, many local businesses in Cleveland have raised concerns that the Ordinance could force them to lay off staff, close, or move to adjoining communities; and
- While the federal minimum wage has failed to keep pace with both the cost of living and the median wage in the labor market, mitigating this failure at the local level requires extensive and thoughtful research to ensure unintended negative consequences do not ensue; and
- When making this informed decision, it’s critical to consider factors such as: 1) the local-area median wage as an important gauge for setting an appropriate level of the minimum wage, 2) the local cost of living as a relevant consideration in setting a minimum wage (including but not limited to the recommended use of regional Consumer Price Indexes (CPIs) to index the local minimum wage and Regional Price Parities (RPPs) which measure the differences in the price levels of goods and services across states and metropolitan areas for a given year) and 3) cities and counties coordinating regional wage setting to mitigate possible negative effects of local mandates.
On Wednesday, June 29th, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress testified before City Council to strongly oppose the proposed Cleveland-only increase in minimum wage from $8.10 to $15.00 an hour; which if passed would go into effect January 2017. Joel Ratner, CEO of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, stressed the anticipated damage that the increase in minimum wage will have on the local neighborhoods and businesses; particularly grocery stores. A Cleveland-only minimum wage increase would put our City at an economic disadvantage, which will result in disinvestment and loss of jobs. The potential consequences of this proposed minimum wage increase will negatively impact decades of investment this organization has made in the City of Cleveland.
Cleveland Neighborhood Progress is committed to reducing poverty and increasing economic opportunity for all Cleveland residents. It has played a significant role in increasing access to fresh produce and bringing grocery stores to underserved neighborhoods. The proposed increase in minimum wage would threaten to drive out local supermarkets that are already operating on narrow profit margins and leave residents without access to fresh food within walking distance.
Cleveland Neighborhood Progress recognizes that the current state minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living. To achieve full economic impact and mitigate the potential disinvestment and loss of jobs in Cleveland, the organization remains supportive of “a well-constructed minimum wage increase policy at the federal or state level.”