Small business owners and workers expressed their concern on Tuesday after Ballot Amendment 2 passed with 61 percent of voters approving the legislation.
Over 6 million Floridians said yes to Amendment 2 on Election Day, raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2026. With its passage, the Sunshine State becomes the eighth in the nation to adopt a $15 minimum wage, joining states like New York, New Jersey, and California.
The amendment will boost the pay to thousands, increasing the state’s current $8.56-an-hour pay floor to $10 starting in 2021. The minimum wage would gradually increase, going up by $1 until it reaches $15 in 2026.
Despite this, pro-business groups argue that the wage hike will destroy the lifeblood of the state.
“Given the devastating impacts COVID-19 has already had on Florida’s economy, we are extremely worried about the job losses and business closures that will accompany this mandate,” said Carol Dover, President & CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, which represents thousands of businesses that will be impacted by the excessive minimum wage hike. “We are proud of our small business owners and employees from across the state who came together to fight this amendment. We have seen too many places across the country that have implemented this wage hike, only to see workers who were promised more money instead lose their jobs altogether. We are worried about our small businesses and the Floridians who will lose their jobs.”
Dover was one of many outspoken opponents fighting back against the initiative spearheaded by millionaire trial lawyer John Morgan. Dover and other business leaders fear the minimum wage hike will put jobs at risk, result in higher costs for consumers, and cause businesses — already on life-support from COVID-19 — to close.
Morgan, however, argues that Floridians will now have a “living wage.”
“We have stood hand in hand with our workers to fight Ballot Amendment 2,” said John Horne a small business owner in Manatee County. “For months, we have tried to educate the public about the negative impacts this would have on our industry and on other jobs across the Sunshine State. The outcome of this election does not change our concerns, but we’ll work with our team and across the industry to keep fighting to stay alive and save as many jobs as we can.”
Morgan reportedly spent more than $5 million of his own money to help bring the measure to a vote.