After the defeat of a $15 minimum wage bill during the 2016 Legislative Session, Florida TaxWatch is attempting to shift the debate from a “$15 per hour wage,” to a “$15 per hour workforce.” The idea is to encourage those planning for their post-high school years to pursue all educational opportunities, and TaxWatch wants to stress that “college is not the only option.” While not discounting the power of a college degree, expanding vocational opportunities for workers will provide even more opportunities for success and drive Florida closer to having a $15 an hour workforce.
To that end TaxWatch commissioned a study to determine the true impact of a sudden wage hike of that magnitude. The report, released yesterday, concludes that such a drastic wage hike would ultimately harm workers.
“If wages went up drastically to $15 an hour, Florida businesses would be forced to make difficult decisions regarding their staff, particularly smaller businesses,” said Robert Weissert, Executive Vice President at Florida TaxWatch. “Many would be forced to cut back hours or, worse, lay people off. Those that get laid off will ultimately be locked out of the labor force because many businesses will be unable to hire the newly unemployed because of the higher costs.”
But how can a worker earning minimum wage afford the extra education or training costs necessary to earn a high-skill job? TaxWatch Florida believes a wage hike just isn’t the answer. For starters, by hiking wages, businesses immediately attract workers with higher skill sets who are now willing to compete for those jobs. The job market instantly becomes tougher.
“With higher wages, businesses will either institute a hiring freeze or only hire those with significant experience, leaving low-skilled workers locked out of the job market,” says Dominic Calabro, TaxWatch’s President and CEO. “It is clear that if the government puts passion before prudence regarding the minimum wage, the Sunshine State could see some serious negative effects. Overbearing regulations like this will drown out small businesses, bringing their employees with them.”
The full report is available HERE.