Florida Amendment 2: Minimum wage on the ballot for Florida voters in 2020

On November 3, 2020, Florida voters will not only be voting on who they would like to see be their next President of the United States, their next Congressperson, or their next State Senator or State House Rep, there are 6 amendments. The amendments would change Florida’s Constitution if we pass them. They need a 60 percent supermajority of votes for a proposed amendment on the ballot to change the state’s Constitution.

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One such amendment is Amendment 2, which would increase Florida’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2026 from its current $8.56 per hour, which is higher than the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Amendment 2 would increase the state minimum wage from $8.56 in 2020 to $15.00 in 2026. It would not happen at once and instead would increase $1 each year until it reaches the $15 per hour if Amendment 2 passes. The state minimum wage would increase each year:

  • $10.00 on September 30, 2021
  • $11.00 on September 30, 2022
  • $12.00 on September 30, 2023
  • $13.00 on September 30, 2024
  • $14.00 on September 30, 2025
  • $15.00 on September 30, 2026

Beginning on September 30, 2027, there would be an annual change to the state minimum wage based on increases to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

Amendment 2 is titled “Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage” and will read on the ballot “Raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective September 30th, 2021. Each September 30th thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30th, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting September 30th, 2027.” The ballot will also show the financial impact to Florida if the amendment passes; raising minimum wage by $1 an hour annually through 2026 means “state and local government costs will increase” by approximately $16 million in 2022 to about $540 million in 2027.

The effects of a government setting a minimum wage on businesses can confuse voters as different studies show different results, positive and negative. It can be especially confusing during times of economic decline as we have seen in Florida because of the government arbitrarily forcing some businesses to close while others remain open under unscientific guidelines. That, besides a host of other variables affecting worker’s pay in Florida, it is hard to say with any certainty whether Amendment 2 would be a positive or negative for workers, or Florida as a whole.

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One constant that is proven is that the extra cost will be paid by customers. So, how many workers’ hours are reduced or how many become unemployed because of Amendment 2 passing is an unknown; however, additional costs will be transferred to customers at the retail level, eating at restaurants, etc.

The minimum wage is an hourly rate enforced by the State of Florida’s government. The living wage is a subjective concept calculated by policymakers and advocacy groups that works backward to calculate a wage to cover the basic needs and expenses of individuals in particular areas.

Supporters state that “Florida needs to pass the Fair Wage Amendment to ensure that all hard-working Floridians can receive a living wage. The ‘living wage’ is the minimum cost that covers the basic needs of an individual and the needs of their family without government assistance.” John Morgan, who is chair of Florida for a Fair Wage, said, “Years ago in the south they said the economy will not work if we don’t have slaves. They were so adamant about it they went to war over it. They fought each other to own people. What’s going on in America today is we’re paying people slave wages and I’m ready to go to war for that.”

Florida’s hospitality industry states that minimum wage jobs are often entry-level positions, and they therefore earn a training wage. These jobs are designed for those entering the workforce, learning the craft, building skills and opening doors for future opportunities. Through initiative and hard work, most entry-level employees quickly advance beyond the minimum wage.

On the national level, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) responded to the U.S. Senate not heard to the proposed Raise The Wage Act, which passed the U.S. House and. The CBO stated that gradually doubling the $7.25 hourly federal minimum by 2025, might trigger the loss of 1.3 million jobs.

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