The 2020 Florida Amendment Series: Amendment 2

The 2020 Florida Amendment Series: Amendment 2

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Bottom Line: This is the second in a six-part series covering Florida’s six proposed constitutional amendments for the 2020 Election cycle. Each proposed amendment requires a minimum of 60% support to pass. Here’s how it will appear on the ballot:

No. 2 Constitutional Amendment

BALLOT TITLE: Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage

BALLOT SUMMARY: 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.

This is the most visible of the six proposed amendments for obvious reasons. Backed by John Morgan who successfully perpetuated the medical marijuana Amendment previously, his group “Florida For a Fair Wage” has spent heavily to raise awareness of this proposal sounding a populist message. As is indicated in the summary, Florida’s minimum wage would progressively rise in coming years from $8.46 per hour currently, to $15 per hour before being tied annually to inflation, as it currently is.

Final Thoughts: Remarkably John Morgan likened Florida’s minimum wage to slavery. Quoting Morgan: Years ago in the south they said the economy will not work if we don’t have slaves. They were so adamant about it they went to war over it. They fought each other to own people. What’s going on in America today is we’re paying people slave wages and I’m ready to go to war for that. I would point out to Mr. Morgan than slavery wasn’t optional. Frankly, it’s an offensive reference and an example which illustrates what’s being attempted here. An emotional appeal rather than a pragmatic one based on facts. Let’s start with the percentage of people who earn minimum wage:

  • 0.6% of those full-time employed
  • 2.3% of part-time employees

The average person currently earns $29.47 an hour. That’s far higher than any minimum wage anywhere in the country. Clearly governments don’t have to mandate higher wages in order for them to be paid. When American free enterprise is allowed to do what it does best, the competition for talent drives wages higher naturally. What’s more is that 99% of those who earn minimum wage are under the age of 25. Broadly, this demonstrates those who earn minimum wage aren’t people attempting to raise a family – as is often advanced with the “living wage” argument. Additionally, those most hurt by artificial government mandates are those who’re the youngest and least skilled. Access to work along with the opportunity to gain skills and grow have long been effectual tenets of American society. Artificially raising labor costs for unskilled positions eliminates the training grounds for the next generation of workers and thwarts careers before they even start. Citing the Florida restaurant and Lodging Association: An increase like this would have disastrous impacts on businesses and individuals alike. Business owners will be forced to find solutions to control costs... the most obvious solutions include reducing the number of employees, reducing the number of hours remaining employees work, and seeking labor alternatives like automation.

Ironically, my career is the embodiment of this argument. Over 23 years ago I began an unpaid internship with what is now iHeartMedia. Upon the completion of the internship I was hired at minimum wage to work weekend overnights. The rest is history. Having the opportunity was far more valuable than the hourly wage ever could have been. In Florida we need to maximize opportunities for the youngest and most vulnerable in our workforce, not eliminate them. I emphatically recommend a NO vote on Amendment 2.

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