Florida Amendment 2: Raising state’s minimum wage

Florida Amendment 2 Explained

FLORIDA — Amendment 2 would raise the minimum wage in Florida. Right now, the minimum wage in Florida is $8.56. That’s $1.31 higher than the federal minimum wage rate.

Here’s what Amendment 2 says on the ballot:

“Raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective September 30th, 2021. Each September 30th thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30th, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting September 30th, 2027.”

The group that got the amendment on the ballot is Florida For A Fair Wage, connected to Florida attorney John Morgan. He says the amendment would help fix two things. One is the broken system that allows a person to do better financially by staying home, by receiving food stamps, welfare and subsidies. The other is what he calls the underlying tension in America.

“.. and everybody calls it a bunch of different things, but it’s actually income inequality. That the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. That 40% of Americans don’t have $400. And at some point in time, it breaks.”

Morgan also believes the COVID-19 pandemic showed us that essential workers are doing some of the most important jobs, but making the least amount of money. Opponents of this amendment, like the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, say this amendment would ultimately mean fewer hours, fewer jobs and fewer opportunities.

“I think when you mandate it like this, and you mandate it from everywhere from Marianna, Florida down to Miami, which are very different markets, and very different market pressures, and very different labor markets, you create a situation where that’s not sustainable. You’re going to have damage to businesses, you’re going to have increase costs to the community.”

The group also believes a sustainable wage can’t be made through a ballot initiative, but requires systemic changes in education and community development. Dr. Matt Corrigan, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Jacksonville University, believes it will be hard for the opposition to win this one.

“The chamber is saying this is the exact wrong time to be doing this, especially with COVID, because it may increase, it will increase cost for small business owners. It’s an interesting time to be proposing this. I think in general minimum wage increases, when they get on the ballot, usually win.”

If the amendment passes, once the wage reaches $15 in 2026, it would be adjusted annually for inflation. At least 60% of voters must approve an amendment for it to pass.