Florida restaurateurs want voters to know what a hike in the minimum wage will cost.
On Friday, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) launched a new tool showing the potential impact of the proposed $15 wage hike.
In a news release, the FRLA said their new tipped wage calculator shows proposed Amendment 2’s payroll impacts and reveals that “payroll costs with the mandatory minimum wage would increase as high as 77%.” The Association warned a payroll hike could shutter already struggling small businesses and kill jobs.
“Before COVID-19, Florida’s restaurant, lodging, and tourism industry generated more than $112 billion in annual economic impact and provided jobs for more than 1.5 million Florida families,” said FRLA President and CEO Carol Dover. “This tipped wage calculator will help to show Floridians the cold, hard numbers that will affect their bottom line and ultimately determine whether or not their business will survive.”
Amendment 2 is a constitutional amendment that will increase the mandatory minimum wage in Florida to $15 an hour by 2026. Spearheaded by attorney John Morgan, the amendment will be on the Nov. 3 ballot and will require 60% voter approval to pass.
The FRLA has organized small business owners and hospitality workers statewide to promote the “Amendment 2 Hurts You” campaign. The effort looks to “educate Floridians about the detrimental effects” Amendment 2 may have on Florida’s economy. FRLA has served as one of the biggest advocates for the campaign.
Meanwhile, Florida’s unemployment rate was 11.3% in July, dropping to 7.4% in August. In the news release, the FRLA cited a recent economic analysis reports that show COVID-19 ended 336,000 hotel and hotel-supported jobs and cost billions in sales. The reports numbers are in addition to the widespread staff furloughs and reduced hours.
While proponents of the amendment argue a higher minimum wage would lift thousands out of poverty and reduce social program dependency, the FRLA counters that a wage hike will expand the income gap.
The Association said the consequences are evident in cities across the nation, including Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.