Republican State Representative Tommy Gregory is taking the fight to Ballot Amendment 2, establishing a political committee to warn Floridians of the dangers of the November initiative.
Gregory, a House member who represents House District 73, announced the More Jobs and Better Wages PC on Tuesday, hoping to use the vehicle to raise awareness and educate Floridians on the dangers of a constitutionally mandated $15 minimum wage.
“The dangers of enshrining a $15 minimum wage in our state’s constitution cannot be overstated,” said Gregory. “More than half a million jobs for young people, seniors, and others looking to gain new skills at any point in their lives will be in jeopardy. Business owners will face skyrocketing labor costs that will force many to close their doors for good, putting even more people out of work.
“It is imperative that Florida voters understand that voting Yes on Amendment 2 is a vote for increasing consumer costs and hardship for Florida senior citizens on fixed incomes. A mandated minimum wage may sound good at first, but it will end up hurting the very workers it purports to help. More Jobs and Better Wages PC will be working diligently to educate as many voters as possible ahead of the election. Florida’s future depends on voters’ ability to see through Amendment 2’s facile promises,” he continued.
Spearheaded by TV trial lawyer John Morgan, the Constitutional amendment would gradually increase Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. The minimum wage would continue to go up by $1 until it reaches $15 in 2026, and it would increase slightly thereafter each year to keep up the consumer price index.
Morgan says he considers a wage boost a “moral, ethical and religious issue” rather than a political one. While proponents of the referendum argue that raising the pay floor would provide Floridians with a living wage that will lift many out of poverty.
Gregory is just one of many officials and associations pushing back on the wage hike. Several pro-business groups, including the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA), have geared up to fight back against the initiative. Many argue that a $15 minimum wage would force business owners to cut the number of employees, reduce the number of hours employees work, and look for ways to automate services currently provided by workers in order to keep their doors open.
Florida’s starting wage is already 18 percent higher than the federal minimum wage and is the highest in the region.
“Amendment 2 would stifle job creation and stall economic growth,” said Gregory. “Simply put, locking in a $15 minimum wage would be devastating. Florida’s Constitution should provide a framework for government that will allow our citizens to flourish. Amendment 2 would do exactly the opposite.”
The proposed amendment will be considered on the Nov. 3 ballot and will require 60 percent approval from voters to pass.