Voters in Florida are approving a gradual increase to the state’s minimum wage.
Amendment 2 passed with nearly 61% of the vote, raising minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026.
But Action News Jax Alicia Tarancon reports Amendment 2 is receiving a lot of criticism from local businesses.
Stephanie Acton is the owner of the Hair and Nail Cottage in Riverside.
She voted against Amendment 2 and was shocked to learn that it passed.
“I understand that obviously, people want to make more money, and they need to recover as well, but the effect that it will have on so many small businesses, I think, is going to be detrimental,” Acton said.
Amendment 2 will increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour on September 30, 2021, and then it’ll increase by $1 each year until September 30, 2026, when the minimum wage will be $15 an hour.
After the minimum wage increases in 2026 to $15 dollars an hour, it will be adjusted for inflation.
Dr. Will Miller, the executive director of institutional analytics, effectiveness, and strategic planning at Jacksonville University and an instructor of public policy, told Action News Jax in some ways it was surprising that Amendment 2 would pass during a year with a pandemic.
“It’s surprising given the economic uncertainty as we think about the next year or the next two years or the next three years. It’s not surprising if we think about it from an economic threat perspective. We also have a lot of voters who are concerned about their own job and maybe looking at this as, ‘OK, if I end up unemployed, at least I know minimum wage will be at least what I consider a more livable wage,’” Miller said.
Florida attorney John Morgan led the efforts to get Amendment 2 on the ballot through an organization called Florida for a Fair Wage.
Currently, the minimum wage in Florida is $8.56.
That’s still higher than the national federal minimum wage, which is just over $7.
While many workers are looking forward to getting paid more, business owners like Acton said it could raise prices of products and services in her salon.
“People don’t like when prices go up in general, and then if you just did a price increase and not even eight months later you need to do another one to cover things, that’s, you know, people aren’t going to be able to afford it, people aren’t going to be able to get their hair done every six to eight weeks like they usually do,” she said.
Miller told Action News Jax Amendment 2 could impact more than 2 million workers in the state of Florida.
Right now, there are seven other states that are sitting at $15 dollars or moving towards $15.
Those states are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts.