John Morgan: Florida should raise minimum wage because right now workers are paid ‘slave wages’
John Morgan may be emboldened by a new poll.

John Morgan
He said it's good for the economy.

Orlando attorney John Morgan was in Tampa Friday to talk up his latest — and what he says will be his last — political project, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Morgan and his law firm have bankrolled most of the $4.5 million raised to get the issue on the ballot. It would raise Florida’s $8.46 current minimum wage to $10 an hour beginning Sept. 30, 2012 and then increase $1 each year until 2026.

“I want to give people a chance to work it all out,” Morgan said during a Tampa Tiger Bay luncheon, referring to employers paying workers a higher wage. “I don’t want this to be cold turkey.”

Democrats typically support raising the minimum, with Republicans often opposing the issue arguing it’s bad for business. Morgan, who used to be a Democrat until changing his registration to no party affiliation, said he actually considers the minimum wage hike proposal a conservative idea.

“If you put more money in their pockets they don’t get on a bus, they get on a car lot,” Morgan said, arguing paying a living wage is better for businesses longterm because it increases spending power.

Morgan also made the argument that higher wages would lead to lower social safety net costs as people were able to ditch public assistance like food stamps or welfare. He said some people actually choose not to work because they can bring in just as much money though public assistance.

“Folks can do that math,” Morgan said. “When it’s better not to work than work, people aren’t going to work.”

“You can take away all the government subsidies. You think people want to ride a bus? You don’t want to be on a bus. If they can buy a car then we don’t need that bus.”

Morgan also rejected the notion that raising the minimum wage would hurt the economy by saddling small businesses with higher employment costs.

“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.” Morgan said. “What’s going on in America today is we’re paying people slave wages and I’m ready to go to war for that.”

He tied minimum wage to the national fight over immigration, too. And in typical Moran fashion, he did so with a zinger.

“Everything about the immigration fight is bogus,” Morgan said. “There’s 14 million illegal immigrants in the United States. If you wanted to get rid of the all today … make it a third degree felony to hire them and charge a $100,000 fine. Do you know why we’re not going to do that? Because we like slave labor.”

Morgan said he took on the minimum wage fight because of his faith and believes increasing wages is the right thing to do. He said it’s not an issue of politics, but morals. He lamented that hard working people can work two and three jobs and still not have enough money to put food on the table.

“Can you imagine walking in to get free food, holding your kid’s hand after you spent all day doing everything right, working your ass off,” Morgan asked.

According to the most recent stats for the ballot initiative from attorney Morgan‘s Florida For A Fair Wage political committee show the committee needs just over 20,000 votes to hit the November ballot.

Of the 766,200 signatures needed, 745,880 have already been verified.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


  • Ira vandeventer

    September 27, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    John Morgan my name is Ira I’m disabled I get SSI I get 940a month that about $2.50 an hour on a 40 hour week I get 42 a month in food stamps when I get a raise on my sii it gets took off my food stamps don’t we need to get a raise I live by my self got house payment live hear 12 it’s not all in my name but can’t get a permit to fix my roof it has rain that comes throw the roof in every room an now I have now way to go my is broke an I don’t have the money to fix can you help the poor before the 15 dollars an hour wages pleas help

  • Seber Newsome III

    September 28, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Let me give you Mr. Morgan a history lesson, since you obviously learned the propaganda taught in public schools about the War of Northern Aggression. The South went to war against the tyrannical North because of something called states rights. It is the same reason America went to war against England. Southern people had to face a tax on everything they sold and bought to fund the North’s infrastructure. Also, have you ever heard of the Corwin Amendment. I did not think so. One month before the war began, Lincoln offered it to the South. It said, if the South came back into the Union, they could keep their slaves. The South declined this generous offer, because the War was about much more than Slavery. There you go Mr. Morgan, your days worth of history.

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