Minimum wage is on the ballot in Florida

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  • $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.

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — One of the most controversial items on the Florida ballot this year is an amendment that would raise the minimum wage.

Amendment 2 will take Florida’s minimum wage from $8.56 to $15 an hour in 2026. If approved by voters, the increase will begin next year starting at $10 an hour next September. The wage will then increase by a dollar each year until it reaches $15.

Tampa Attorney John Morgan, the man who got medical marijuana on the ballot in 2014 and 2016, is behind the ballot initiative.

“People cannot live on $8.56 an hour,” Morgan said. “It is impossible. You would have to work 90 hours for that to work out to pay just your rent and child care.”

The amendment overrides the legislature on the issue. Morgan said they wouldn’t even hold hearings on the minimum wage.

This whole topic is nothing more than a socialist push,” said Rep. Jason Shoaf, (R) – Gulf County. “It’s a feel good thing that is designed to give people a temporary high with long term devastating impacts.”

Business leaders, like Port St. Joe’s David Warriner, will vote no on the amendment. He said it will cause prices to rise and force layoffs.

“If you increase your largest cost center in your operation by 50 percent something has got to give,” Warriner said. “Either hours give, either you don’t stay open. So you cut hours, you change your menu mix, you change your hotel room mix. you change the way you staff.”

However, Morgan said that argument doesn’t make sense.

“They always say jobs will be lost,” he said. “If you believe that that means right now these employers are hiring people and paying people that they don’t really need. That they just have them working out of the goodness of their heart. That they’ll make the beds themselves. That they will wash the dishes themselves. That they’ll mow the grass themselves. That they’ll serve the food themselves. No, they won’t. And they won’t lay anybody off because they need the workers.”

Warriner said the increase in the minimum wage would be like another natural disaster for businesses and workers and compares it to a pandemic.

“This is COVID that doesn’t go away,” Warriner said. “This is COVID that lasts forever.”

But Morgan countered that costs have gone up for decades while wages in Florida have stagnated. He pointed to the price of a ticket to Disney World in 1980 versus the price of ticket in 2020 as just one example.

“There’s been no great increase in wages yet the cost of everything has gone through the roof. Has nothing to do with wages,” Morgan said. “If I have to pay .50 more for a hamburger so that the poorest working people amongst us can have a living wage and a decent life I’ll pay .50 more for the hamburger. I’m not that selfish.”

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