Cleveland Council Passes Petition Transparency Proposal

Greater Cleveland Partnership members have expressed concerns over parts of the process in place for petitioners to place an issue on the local ballot. After all, even well-intended ballot issue proposals and campaigns can severely limit the way businesses can strengthen and grow.    

To help shine more transparency on Cleveland ballot issues that are brought forward, City Council introduced and passed a proposal last week that would make it mandatory for circulators of petitions to file an itemized statement that provides more information on that individual’s petition circulation experience. The Cleveland legislation largely mirrors current Ohio Revised Code which, for example, says information should be provided that includes the time spent and salaries earned while circulating or soliciting signatures to petitions. The overall statement is to be open to public inspection for a period of one year.  

“GCP believes the signature collection process to put an issue on the ballot requires examination to avoid the potential for costly changes to municipal ordinance or charter,” said Joe Roman, president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership. “This legislation is a step in the right direction; it provides the public more information and context, which the voters can ultimately use to evaluate the merits of any given issue and better understand who is behind it.”

The realization of this issue was particularly evident last year when petition efforts (with out-of-state origins) attempted to impose a part-time workers’ mandate and a Cleveland-only minimum wage on our city.  Those specific issues would have placed Cleveland at a disadvantage, hindered job creation, and the overall momentum the City of Cleveland is now experiencing.

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    Next up: Cleveland Council rejects minimum wage hike, voters may still decide

    Cleveland Council rejects minimum wage hike, voters may still decide

    Last week, Cleveland City Council voted overwhelmingly – by a vote of 16 to 1 – in opposition to the most aggressive minimum wage increase in the country.  Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine even released an opinion more than a month ago stating that municipalities cannot legally set their own minimum wage.  However, Cleveland’s Charter could still provide the initiative’s supporters the opportunity to place the issue (or an amended version) on a future ballot to be decided by the voters.

    Last week, Cleveland City Council voted overwhelmingly – by a vote of 16 to 1 – in opposition to the most aggressive minimum wage increase in the country.  Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine even released an opinion more than a month ago stating that municipalities cannot legally set their own minimum wage. 

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    However, Cleveland’s Charter could still provide the initiative’s supporters the opportunity to place the issue (or an amended version) on a future ballot to be decided by the voters.

    The original proposal – imported to Cleveland by the multi-state union Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1199 WV/KY/OH – submitted petitions to Cleveland City Council to raise Cleveland’s minimum wage to $15 an hour beginning in January 2017.  If enacted, it would mandate an 85% increase as Ohio’s current minimum wage is $8.10.

    Members of the Greater Cleveland Partnership vehemently oppose this effort and are urging Clevelanders to consider the unintended consequences of such a drastic and targeted increase to our minimum wage. 

    Our members may not be philosophically opposed to a minimum wage discussion, but if the issue is to be addressed, it should be at the state level.  Increasing the minimum wage only in Cleveland, as this plan would do, would immediately make Cleveland less competitive.  Our minimum wage would be almost double what it would be in the remainder of Cuyahoga County and the rest of Ohio.  Cleveland would become an isolated economic island, adrift from the mainstream economy of Northeast Ohio as well as the rest of the state.

    Want to learn more about why the Cleveland-only proposal would backfire on our city?

    Read more in the piece Kevin Johnson (Co-owner, Visiting Angels) and Joe Roman (President & CEO, Greater Cleveland Partnership) recently submitted to The Plain Dealer.

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    Next up: Cleveland Council rejects minimum wage hike, voters may still decide

    Cleveland Council rejects minimum wage hike, voters may still decide

    Last week, Cleveland City Council voted overwhelmingly – by a vote of 16 to 1 – in opposition to the most aggressive minimum wage increase in the country.  Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine even released an opinion more than a month ago stating that municipalities cannot legally set their own minimum wage.

    Last week, Cleveland City Council voted overwhelmingly – by a vote of 16 to 1 – in opposition to the most aggressive minimum wage increase in the country.  Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine even released an opinion more than a month ago stating that municipalities cannot legally set their own minimum wage

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    However, Cleveland’s Charter could still provide the initiative’s supporters the opportunity to place the issue (or an amended version) on a future ballot to be decided by the voters.

    The original proposal – imported to Cleveland by the multi-state union Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 1199 WV/KY/OH – submitted petitions to Cleveland City Council to raise Cleveland’s minimum wage to $15 an hour beginning in January 2017.  If enacted, it would mandate an 85% increase as Ohio’s current minimum wage is $8.10.

    Members of the Greater Cleveland Partnership vehemently oppose this effort and are urging Clevelanders to consider the unintended consequences of such a drastic and targeted increase to our minimum wage. 

    Our members may not be philosophically opposed to a minimum wage discussion, but if the issue is to be addressed, it should be at the state level.  Increasing the minimum wage only in Cleveland, as this plan would do, would immediately make Cleveland less competitive.  Our minimum wage would be almost double what it would be in the remainder of Cuyahoga County and the rest of Ohio.  Cleveland would become an isolated economic island, adrift from the mainstream economy of Northeast Ohio as well as the rest of the state.

    Want to learn more about why the Cleveland-only proposal would backfire on our city?

    Read more in the piece Kevin Johnson (Co-owner, Visiting Angels) and Joe Roman (President & CEO, Greater Cleveland Partnership) recently submitted to The Plain Dealer.

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    Next up: Cleveland-only minimum wage increase effort, opposed by GCP, is suspended

    Cleveland-only minimum wage increase effort, opposed by GCP, is suspended

    An initiative proposing a Cleveland-only minimum wage increase was brought forward months ago, which would have phased in a $15-an-hour minimum wage (starting with $12 an hour in January 2018) while the rest of the state remained at $8.15.

    An initiative proposing a Cleveland-only minimum wage increase was brought forward months ago, which would have phased in a $15-an-hour minimum wage (starting with $12 an hour in January 2018) while the rest of the state remained at $8.15.

    The Greater Cleveland Partnership and its partners advocated for state intervention and opposed this misguided local minimum wage ballot issue because it would place the City of Cleveland at a disadvantage, hinder job creation, business growth, and the overall momentum the city is now experiencing.
     
    In late December, state legislation – Senate Bill 331 – passed and was signed by the Governor that prohibits Cleveland and other political subdivisions from establishing minimum wage rates different from the rate required by state law.  

    Petitioners announced today that they are suspending their effort to raise the minimum wage in Cleveland but will continue advocating for a statewide effort to raise the minimum wage.

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    Next up: Cleveland part-time workers’ measure withdrawn, special election next year on minimum wage

    Cleveland part-time workers’ measure withdrawn, special election next year on minimum wage

    A vote will not take place in November on a Cleveland-only minimum wage increase that would phase in a $15 minimum wage (starting with $12 an hour in January 2018) while the rest of the state remains at $8.10; the measure is, however, expected to appear on the Cleveland ballot on May 2, 2017.

    A vote will not take place in November on a Cleveland-only minimum wage increase that would phase in a $15 minimum wage (starting with $12 an hour in January 2018) while the rest of the state remains at $8.10; the measure is, however, expected to appear on the Cleveland ballot on May 2, 2017.

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    A separate Cleveland-only part-time workers’ initiative that was in-line to appear on the November ballot has been withdrawn by petitioners; City Council granted their request this week and repealed the proposal.

    GCP/COSE opposes both of these misguided efforts due to the bevy of job-threatening regulations the part-time workers’ issue would mandate on businesses and because the Cleveland-only minimum wage issue places Cleveland at a disadvantage, would hinder job creation, business growth, and the overall momentum the City of Cleveland is now experiencing.

    In other news, two local ballot measures GCP/COSE supports – will appear on the ballot this November – and they were assigned issue numbers:

    • Issue 32: Cleveland's proposal to increase its income tax by 0.5 percent. 
    • Issue 108: The renewal of a tax that provides operating revenue for Cleveland city schools.
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    Next up: Cleveland Part-Time Workers' Rights Charter Amendment Proposed

    Cleveland Part-Time Workers' Rights Charter Amendment Proposed

    Recent petition efforts will likely compel Cleveland City Council to consider a charter amendment with out-of-state origins.

    Recent petition efforts will likely compel Cleveland City Council to consider a charter amendment with out-of-state origins. 

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    If placed on the ballot and approved by voters in November, the amendment would enhance rights for part-time employees in Cleveland – those employed on an hourly basis fewer than forty hours per week – and establish a Part-time Workers’ Rights Commission to oversee and enforce these new standards. 

    Several provisions of the amendment would particularly have a significant impact on local employers who rely on part-time labor; click here for more details.

    City Council is scheduled to act on the proposal this Wednesday.  In addition to the part-time workers’ rights charter amendment, separate measures that would increase the minimum wage in Cleveland-only and increase the city’s income tax may also appear on the ballot for Cleveland voters to weigh-in on.

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