Minimum Wage Debate

April 25, 2013

Below is one of my rants that got published as a letter-to-the-editor in the News-Herald. So far it’s getting rave reviews from the check-out ladies at our local IGA.

Minimum Wage Debate

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is championing a substantial increase in the minimum wage. As one of 850,000 small business owners in our state, I think we should take a serious look at this perennial issue. The only workers we currently hire at minimum wage in our nursery are students. Often we provide their first real job. Some are worth the current Ohio minimum wage of $7.85 per hour, or $314 for a full week during spring or summer break. But many are not. What if we provided a ‘student wage’ for workers under 21?

Minimum wage advocates such as Senator Brown often point to the difficulty of supporting a family of four at this lowest rung on the economic ladder. I agree. But how many families are in this predicament without the outside assistance that Senator Brown also advocates? Three full-time minimum wage workers living in the same house would earn over $48,000 per year, which exceeds the median household income for Ohio and the United States.

Many Americans have struggled to get by at minimum wage jobs. I have. That’s why we pursue education, useful experience and take on business risk to advance ourselves. Good workers of any age are always in short supply. Why not allow the marketplace to determine a fair wage?

Mark Gilson, President
Gilson Gardens

Below is a photo of a student worker with his pet goat. I rest my case…