Americans for Prosperity-Florida, a libertarian advocacy group, will begin their offensive this week against the $15 minimum wage initiative proposed for 2020.
“When businesses and workers across the state are reeling from the economic impacts of COVID-19, raising the minimum wage and imposing a one-size fits all wage would be devastating as small businesses are trying to recover,” said AFP-FL State Director Skylar Zander. “Amendment 2 could force even more small businesses to close and eliminate at least 158,000 jobs.”
Amendment 2, if approved by 60% of voters, would bump Florida’s minimum wage to $10 in 2021. Thereafter, the minimum wage would increase each year by $1 until reaching $15 in 2026.
The matter in recent weeks has drawn several critics including Sen. Joe Gruters and Chris Sprowls, the future house leader. It also has attracted fanfare from Sen. José Javier Rodríguez and a spirited defense from John Morgan, the amendment’s sponsor.
Proponents of the amendment argue a higher wage would lift many workers out of poverty, increase consumerism and reduce dependency on social programs. Opponents, on the other hand, warn of several unintended consequences, which may include inflation, layoffs and reduced hours for low-skill earners.
What’s more, opponents argue a wage hike would devastate the many businesses already struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Instead of helping workers and businesses, Amendment 2 would cut the rungs off the economic ladder, making it harder for people to get to work,” Zander added. “Rejecting this misguided ballot initiative will protect Florida workers, families, and small businesses. That’s why we’re going out and educating Floridians about the effects this would have on our state’s future, and why economic growth is best sustained by removing barriers to make it easier for people to find jobs and live their version of the American dream.”
According to estimates from the Financial Impact Estimating Conference, Amendment 2 would increase the annual wage costs of government agencies alone from $16 million in 2022 to $540 million in 2027.
The political committee behind the proposed constitutional amendment is Florida for a Fair Wage.
In August, Florida Restaurant and Lodging CEO Carol Dover conceded that she and critics are facing an uphill battle against the initiative.
A recent survey conducted by St. Pete Polls shows nearly 65% of Floridians are poised to vote yes on the amendment. According to the poll, roughly 23% of voters would vote against the measure if the election were held today while nearly 13% remain undecided.
The survey’s suggested level of support easily clears the 60% threshold required for voters to amend the Florida Constitution.
The state’s current minimum hourly wage is $8.56.