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Columbus City Council considering increasing minimum wage to $20 an hour for some workers

Every three years, Columbus City Council needs to adjust its Minimum Qualifying Incentive Wage Threshold policy.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As interest rates rise for the third month in a row, the City of Columbus is looking at different ways to put more money in some workers' pockets. The council is looking at raising the minimum wage to $20 an hour for future companies looking to come to the city to receive tax incentives.

“If someone is receiving dollars from the public, it is our goal that they play a livable wage,” Columbus City Council Member Nick Bankston said.

Currently, if the city looks at a development deal, businesses would be required to pay $15 an hour to workers. The city council is looking to raise that amount to between $18.50 and $20 an hour. That range comes from the Department of Development within the city.

“We believe that if you work in the City of Columbus you should be able to live in the City of Columbus. This is the range that they believe they will still be able to stay competitive and also provide a livable wage to the people that are getting those jobs,” Bankston said.

This would not mean an increased minimum wage for the entire city, as cities are not allowed to do that in the state of Ohio. This increase would only impact businesses looking for tax incentives.

Bankston said those incentives include businesses looking for tax abatements, which is tied to investment in a property, and job growth incentives, which give tax credit back to companies for jobs that are created.

So how many people would this affect? Each year city council is recommended about 20 economic development deals that create jobs.

“In any given year, the City of Columbus, through our economic development strategy, is producing on average 5,000 new jobs a year,” Bankston said.

Bankston said he hopes this proposal is passed by the end of the year. The next step for approval is a public hearing in October.

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