Over 150 Florida businesses endorse raising Florida’s minimum wage to $15 an hour

Amendment 2 needs 60% of the vote to pass.

MCKENNA SCHUELER
McKenna Schueler

As Election Day arrives, a growing coalition of Florida business owners and executives—dubbed Florida Business for a Fair Minimum Wage—are calling for the passage of Florida’s Amendment 2.

In a statement posted to its website,  the coalition—including almost two dozen from Tampa and St. Petersburg—wrote that, “Today, grocery workers, healthcare aides, cleaning staff, childcare workers and other Floridians are working at the $8.56 minimum wage or near it. We can’t build a shared recovery on a minimum wage that’s too low to live on.”

The coalition is funded by the political committee for Amendment 2, Florida for a Fair Wage.

As of October 29, more than 150 Florida business owners and executives from a range of industries—including restaurants, retail, manufacturers, tourism, personal services, and construction—have signed on in support of Florida’s Amendment 2.

If passed, Amendment 2 would gradually raise Florida’s current minimum wage of $8.56 to $15 by 2026, beginning with an increase to $10 September 30, 2021 and a raise in $1 increments for each year until it reaches $15 on September 30th, 2026. 

“I can tell you firsthand that paying a living wage is good for business,” says Danielle Ferrari, owner of Valhalla Resale in Tampa. “I already pay $15 an hour, and it helps me attract and retain talented, productive employees. Amendment 2’s minimum wage increases will lift the economy as better-paid workers have more money to spend at my business and at my neighbors’ businesses.”

Co-owners Leigh Anne Balzekas and Kristine Ownley of The Disco Dolls Studio—who have also joined the Florida business coalition—recently told WMNF that the fight for a $15 minimum living wage embodies several of their core values, including equality, sustainability, and advancing community enrichment. “We just need to love each other and value each other more. Those solutions become apparent. It’s all connected.”

However, not all Florida business owners are in agreement on this issue. Opponents of Amendment 2—such as the Florida Restaurants and Lodging Association, which represents many low-wage tourism workers and has contributed over $200,000 to the state’s leading anti-Amendment 2 PAC—argue that the amendment would kill jobs, destroy the state economy, and threaten the livelihood of small businesses during an already precarious time.

The Florida Business for a Fair Minimum Wage statement in support of Amendment 2 refutes fiscally-conservative talking points.

“Raising the minimum wage puts money in the pockets of people who most need to spend it. It boosts the consumer buying power that businesses depend on to survive and grow," the group wrote, "a purpose of the minimum wage since it was first enacted to help us recover from the Great Depression.”

To pass, Florida’s Amendment 2 needs at least 60% approval from voters.

UPDATED 11/02/20 10:37 a.m. Updated the PAC's name, "Florida Business for a Fair Minimum Wage."

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About The Author

McKenna Schueler

McKenna Schueler is a freelance journalist based in Tampa, Florida. She regularly writes about labor, politics, policing, and behavioral health. You can find her on Twitter at @SheCarriesOn and send news tips to mkaschueler@gmail.com.

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