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Florida TaxWatch Analysis of Amendment 2: Florida's $15 Minimum Wage Initiative

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Florida TaxWatch (FTW) released a special report, Amendment 2: Florida’s $15 Minimum Wage Initiative analyzing the impacts on businesses and taxpayers of Florida’s $15 minimum wage initiative which will go before the voters this November as Amendment 2. In this report, TaxWatch finds a fundamental problem with increasing the minimum hourly wage to $15 is that while intended to create winners, it creates many more unintended losers, creating the potential for detrimental effects on taxpayers, small business, and low-skill workers. A 2019 report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that while implementing a federal $15 minimum wage could raise 1.3 million Americans out of poverty, as many as 3.7 million Americans who would otherwise be employed would be jobless as a result.

Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro said, “Floridians participating in the labor force deserve to be paid a fair wage for their hard work and we’ve seen both the public and private sector take action to protect the wages of workers in the Sunshine State. These actions, including the 2004 constitutional amendment approved by Florida voters to annually adjust the state minimum wage for inflation and moves by private companies to raise their own ‘minimum wage,’ have provided the support many Floridians need while maintaining flexibility for businesses large and small to operate within their means.

“While the road to a $15 state minimum wage may be paved with good intentions and even produce wins for some workers, its negative impacts could produce poor outcomes for too many of the very folks it aims to protect. Small businesses will be forced to increase labor expenditures, fixed-income Floridians will be faced with paying higher prices for goods and services, and low-skill workers are likely to receive fewer hours and employment opportunities. Florida TaxWatch encourages voters to reject Amendment 2 in November.”

HDG Hotels Chief People and Culture Officer Lisa Lombardo said, “Our industry is still struggling from the loss of team members and revenues associated with COVID-19. If a mandate to increase minimum wage goes into effect, the tourism industry - what is supposed to stand as the number one industry for the Sunshine State - will fall further into dark times.”

National Federation of Independent Business – Florida Executive Director Bill Herrle said, “2020 will be remembered as a year that we saw many small businesses disappear. Let’s not heap more upon their back.”

Anna Maria Oyster Bar Owner John Horne said, “It is critical to understand the significant unintended consequences that Amendment 2 will have not only on the hospitality industry, but businesses of all kinds across Florida. I want to thank Florida TaxWatch for their focus on this important issue that may well do more harm than good to many of the people that it was intended to help.”

According to estimates from the Financial Impact Estimating Conference, full implementation of Amendment 2 would result in increased annual wage costs to government agencies alone of $16 million in 2022 and $540 million in 2027 and thereafter.

Florida is currently one of 28 states that has established a minimum hourly wage that differs from the federal minimum hourly wage. Florida’s current minimum hourly wage is $8.56, $1.26 more than the federal minimum wage, and increases on January 1 of each year to match inflation. If approved by 60 percent of the voters, Amendment 2 will increase the state’s minimum hourly wage incrementally to $15.00 per hour on September 30th, 2026. Beginning September 30th, 2027, the minimum hourly wage will be adjusted annually for inflation.

Read the full special report, Amendment 2: Florida’s $15 Minimum Wage Initiative here.

About Florida TaxWatch
As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog and taxpayer research institute for more than forty years and the trusted eyes and ears of Florida taxpayers, Florida TaxWatch works to improve the productivity and accountability of Florida government. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on citizens and businesses. Florida TaxWatch is supported by its membership via voluntary, tax-deductible donations and private grants, and does not accept government funding. Donations provide a solid, lasting foundation that has enabled Florida TaxWatch to bring about a more effective, responsive government that is more accountable to, and productive for, the citizens it serves since 1979. For more information, please visit www.floridataxwatch.org

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