Florida’s proposed Amendment 2: A terrible time to vote for a 75% increase in the state’s minimum wage

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These are the opinions of BizPac, the political action committee, which is a separate legal entity and not the opinions of BizPacReview, Inc.

The Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County (BIZPAC) opposes Amendment 2 on Florida’s November ballot. Here’s why:

This amendment would increase the state minimum wage to $15 by 2026, a 75% increase.

Amendment 2 will be harmful for the interests of Palm Beach County businesses and the statewide business community.

Here are the important points to know about the amendment:

· It raises the minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective Sept. 30, 2021. Each Sept. 30 thereafter, the wage will increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on Sept. 30, 2026.

· From that point forward, future minimum wage increases will be adjusted annually for inflation.

· A NO vote would keep the current $8.56 minimum wage in place, while continuing to increase with inflation.

· Opponents of Amendment 2 include Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Chamber, Boca Raton Chamber, the Palm Beach North Chamber, the Stuart/Martin County Chamber, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, Florida Home Builders Association, Florida Farm Bureau, Florida Retail Federation, National Federation of Independent Business, and the Florida Petroleum Marketers Association.

· The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association said, “Businesses across all industries are growing increasingly concerned about the devastating consequences Amendment 2 will have on jobs across the state”.

· The Florida Home Builders Association stated, “As we rebound from a worldwide pandemic and high unemployment, we stand with small businesses in opposition to Amendment 2”.

· The primary supporter of the amendment is Florida For a Fair Wage, which has reported $4.8 million in contributions. Its creator and Chairman is John Morgan, a plaintiff’s attorney who runs “America’s largest personal injury law firm”. The Florida Chamber writes Morgan’s firm is “the same one looking to capitalize on the pandemic by suing small businesses”.

·         Two other major supporters are SEIU (Service Employees International Union) and the SPLC Action Fund (Southern Poverty Law Center).

Here are the reasons why BIZPAC opposes this amendment:

1. Business leaders across the state are voicing opposition to this Amendment. The devastation will be far-reaching for Florida, destroying the road to recovery from the Chinavirus. It will result in greater unemployment, particularly in communities more in need of help.

2. It will ensure that many jobs lost during the pandemic will not return, and many businesses devastated by the virus may never bounce back.

3. It’s effectively a tax increase. Higher wages mean higher costs, and consumers ultimately pay that increase.

4. Who does Amendment 2 hurt the most? It drives up inflation and dramatically increases the cost of living for seniors and working families, who will pay more for necessities like food, clothing, and haircuts. It also hurts entry-level workers (fewer jobs), part-time wage earners, restaurants and the retail and tourism industries (which operate on razor-thin profit margins), and day-care providers. Part-time workers will see a dramatic reduction in paid hours.

5. Many younger workers seeking a first opportunity for work will find the door closed. Lower-wage workers, who are the same people this measure is designed to help, will see massive layoffs.

6. Now is a terrible time for a 75% increase in the state’s minimum wage. Employees and employers alike would feel economic pain.

7. A survey of Florida businesses by EPI reveals that half of respondents would reduce employees’ hours to contend with higher costs if there was a $15 entry level wage. Another one-third would automate jobs. Two economists (MacPherson and Even) estimate that if Amendment 2 passes, the state would lose 158,000 jobs.

8. The Florida Constitution is a revered document that should not be changed yearly.

9. If the amendment passes, Florida would be the first state in America to create an exponential increase in the minimum wage in its state constitution. No state has ever passed a constitutional mandate raising minimum wage to $15 per hour.

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