Chris Sprowls, Joe Gruters push back against $15 minimum wage

minimum wage
They warned the effects are visible in "liberal cities."

Sen. Joe Gruters and future House Speaker Chris Sprowls on Monday warned the $15 minimum wage amendment would negatively impact Florida.

Gruters of Sarasota said the negative consequences are evident in “liberal cities” such as Seattle, Washington D.C. and Chicago.

“We’ve seen it kill jobs, close businesses and expand the income gap,” he said. “Their streets are covered in poverty, riots, crime and unrest. Why would we bring their failed policies to the Sunshine State. These are the consequences of the false promise Seattle was sold.”

Joined by Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association President Carol Dover, Sprowls warned the amendment would be a blow to Florida businesses already ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When people try to get up off the floor you don’t kick them back down again,” he said. “The reality is that businesses throughout the state are suffering. They are working hard every single day to get back on their feet, to get their employees back in the door.”

Amendment 2 is a ballot initiative that would incrementally raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026. If passed, Florida’s minimum wage would bump to $10 an hour in 2021 and then rise $1 each year until it hits $15.

While proponents argue a higher minimum wage would lift thousands out of poverty and reduce social program dependency, critics counter that a wage hike will create a slew of negative, unintended consequences.

Ahead of the initiative’s Nov. 3 vote, the FRLA  has said they are working to “educate” Floridians on the amendments perils.

“This is a modern day Trojan Horse,” Sprowls continued. “The advocates tell you that it will be a get for Florida workers but the reality is it’s going to have a devastating impact on workers’ jobs, their livelihoods and their ability to find pathways to prosperity.”

Sen. Joe Gruters echoed that sentiment. As a practicing CPA and business owner, he described himself on the “frontlines” of local businesses.

“Ballot amendment two is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” he said. “I am an employer myself and I know that ballot Amendment 2 will destroy hundreds of small business across Florida and kill the jobs they provide for Florida families.”

Gruters told the story of a high school intern he hired who began earning a minimum wage and now earns above $20 per hour.

Both lawmakers argued it would reduce entry level jobs where young people develop skills to move onto higher positions. They also warned it would impact seniors and others on fixed incomes.

Florida’s current minimum wage is $8.56.

Recent polling by St. Pete Polls shows nearly 65% of voters are ready to vote ‘yes’ on Amendment 2. Meanwhile, around 23% of voters would vote against the measure if the election were held today, and nearly 13% remain undecided.

The level of support easily clears the 60% threshold required for voters to amend Florida’s Constitution.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.


4 comments

  • Cogent Observer

    September 28, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    If you like unemployment, a $15 minimum wage is a sure way to increase it.

  • James Robert Miles

    September 29, 2020 at 7:07 am

    If you want a livable wage $15.00 per hour is the way to go!

  • Ocean Joe

    September 29, 2020 at 7:51 am

    It’s going to take 5 years to reach $15. This raise in the min. wage is logical and paced. If it has a detrimental impact it can be repealed. Having more income, even if slight, will result in more purchasing of goods and services. These folks are not going to be buying stocks and bonds with their newfound “riches.”

    The GOP legislature should be planning to knee cap this already. One way would be a relief act for small businesses most likely affected. Work on that instead of perpetuating unlivable wages. We’ve had a federal min. wage since the 1930’s, one more way FDR and Democrats made life better after the Great Depression. Florida has a history with this. Look at that instead of
    bleatings from the Chamber of Commerce.

  • Ocean Joe

    September 29, 2020 at 7:58 am

    If the Florida legislature was responsive to the will of the people we wouldn’t need all these amendments. As long as they are in the pocket of lobbyists, the public will continue to legislate around them via constitutional amendments. They are unresponsive because we are so heavily gerrymandered.

    There is even an amendment on this year’s ballot seeking to require an amendment be VOTED ON TWICE before becoming law. This is how much they fear the public.

Comments are closed.


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