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Jeff Vasilinda becomes the Vasilinda Family’s first published author!

Parties Pick Sides on $15 Minimum Wage

September 29th, 2020 by Jake Stofan

Florida Republicans and Democrats are staking their positions on Amendment 2, which would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026.

Democrats argue the amendment would guarantee a livable wage for all Floridians, while Republicans fear it would kill small businesses and eliminate jobs.

Florida’s minimum wage is expected to rise nine cents next year, going from $8.56 an hour to $8.65.

Democrats are proposing an alternative, by voting yes on Amendment 2, the minimum wage would rise to $10 an hour in 2021 and up to $15 by 2026.

“What Amendment 2 is about is a living wage,” said State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez.

But Republicans call the amendment deceptive.

“Amendment 2 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said State Senator Joe Gruters.

They argue it’s small businesses that stand to lose out.

“Amendment 2 will destroy hundreds of small businesses across Florida and kill the jobs they provide for Florida families,” said Gruters.

Restaurants are projected to see some of the biggest costs.

The amendment would raise tipped workers’ hourly wages from $5.54 to $11.98 over the next six years.

Restaurateur John Horne told us even though his workers make more than minimum wage after tips, he’d still have to pay them more per hour.

“It will increase the payroll at one store over $617,000,” said Horne, who owns Anna Maria Oyster Bar in Bradenton.

But labor unions argue the wage hike will pay for itself through increased spending.

“It puts all kinds of expendable cash into the marketplace. It allows workers who have not been able to fully participate in our economy to fully participate,” said Dr. Rich Templin with the Florida AFL-CIO.

State economists have estimated a $15 minimum wage would increase labors costs on Florida businesses by $540 million a year.

Amendment 2 is polling between 63 and 67 percent support, well above the 60 percent threshold needed for passage.

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