On Nov. 3, Florida voters will have a say in setting the state’s minimum wage.
Amendment 2, one of several constitutional amendments on the ballot this year, would incrementally increases the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026.
Under the proposed constitutional amendment, which needs to receive 60% of votes to pass, the state’s minimum wage would increase to $10 an hour effective Sept. 30, 2021. It would then increase $1 an hour annually until it reaches $15. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases would be annually adjusted for inflation.
Florida’s minimum wage is currently $8.56 an hour, about a dollar more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
The Greater Naples Chamber supports targeted approaches to helping low wage earners upward mobility in the workforce, such as strengthening workforce development programs, and creating higher-skill, higher-wage jobs through economic development opportunity. However, the Chamber does not believe a constitutional amendment is the appropriate way to address the issue of wages in Florida.
The citizen initiative, which is backed by Florida for a Fair Wage and Orlando-based attorney John Morgan, received 770,458 signatures to get on the November ballot. Proponents of the initiative say the amendment ensures Floridians can early a living wage, or the hourly rate that an individual must make to support themselves. According to the living wage calculator created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the living wage for a single adult in Florida is $12.39.
Opponents say the initiative will have a significant, negative impact on the state’s small businesses. The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association is among those organizations opposing the amendment, and officials with the organization have said business owners would be “forced to make changes to accommodate a 77% increase in labor costs,” including reducing the number of employees, increasing costs to customers and eliminating entry-level positions.